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26th Oct, 2021

Your Letters: Redditch Library, refugees, and a Dragon speaks

REFERRING to our council leader’s comments in last week’s edition of the Redditch Standard regarding Redditch Library.

Councillor Matt Dormer’s wish or ‘dream’ will come true if Worcestershire County Council (and our borough council) approves to demolish the library building in The Market Place.

Is there any idea of how much this will cost?

Following his plan to relocate the library to the town hall:

(i) Library users hope Worcestershire County Council has enough money to spend on properly converting the town hall (or part of it) to create a 21st Century facility. And, sadly, now at a time of increasing cutbacks there would probably be an acceleration in the decline of new books purchased.

The current library, which opened on January 24, 1976, was designed by John Madin from Moseley.

It was nationally recognised for its good design.

If demolished, it will be sadly missed by those who use it. What will be left? An extension of Mercian Square, or a new square?

A frivolous rumour has it that as part of that dream it will become ‘Matt Dormer Place’.

(ii) Pages 11 and 14 of The Redditch Town Centre Regeneration Prospectus recommend converting the town hall for primary residential use, creating 78 new units.

So, has Coun Dormer had any plans prepared to show which parts will be used for housing and which will be the library?

If so, can he share them?

P Bladon, Southcrest

IS ANYTHING being done to welcome Afghan refugees to Redditch?

I know the town has helped Syrian refugees in the past but what is being done to help these poor people, who, through no fault of their own have been forced to flee their own country.

One would hope that Redditch would be able to do something.

T Harrison, Oakenshaw

I WAS interested to read that (Council Leader) Councillor Dormer’s ‘preferred’ location for the Redditch library is the town hall.

Aside from the considerable expense – £4million – to demolish a purpose built library building, this raises several important questions.

I assume that a town hall library would need to be located on the ground floor in order to promote accessibility.

This needs to be an open and inviting space, organised to facilitate easy browsing.

The area is currently occupied by conference and meeting rooms – where would the council meet if this space was the library?

The last full council was held at the Abbey stadium as the only space available for a large socially distanced meeting, so one must assume that the upstairs areas are a series of smaller rooms and offices.

We must also remember that a library is not just a room full of books.

Where will the public access computers be located?

Will there be room for a quiet study area, places to sit and read?

We must maintain a space for the incredibly popular mother and baby groups, and various activity clubs currently operating out of the library.

Will Coun Dormer protect the library staff who ensure this is a well loved and well used public amenity?

Or will he try and save cash (he needs to make £800,000 of cuts to county library services) with a self service library, more remote lending and staff redundancies?

It’s going to cost a pretty penny to remodel and refurbish the town hall so the budget will definitely be under pressure.

And very importantly, where will the huge archives of Redditch history be located?

Can Coun Dormer promise that these records of our rich heritage will not be dispersed for storage across the county?

Coun Dormer might prefer a town hall library – but I would prefer to save millions of taxpayer pounds by keeping our lovely library exactly where it is.

S Harvey, Southcrest

THE council wants to demolish the library building, but I don’t think putting a big empty square in its place will do much good.

Everyone goes to the Kingfisher Shopping Centre, hardly anyone bothers to go outside – unless they’re going to the library.

If they move it to the town hall will they open up the passageway from the back of Debenhams again?

It just seems a big waste of money that could be spent on building more houses for those of us who don’t have one.

K Watkins, Redditch

IN A welcome move, the European Commission recently announced it plans to ‘End the Cage Age’ for all farmed animals, committing to introduce legislation to phase out caged production systems. Yet, every year across the UK, millions of farmed animals suffer in cages where they are unable to express their natural behaviours.

The Commission has also indicated that it will look to ban the import of food produced in caged systems. As a result, inaction may also prevent trade with our nearest and largest export market and could ultimately damage the entire British farming industry.

Caged, industrial-scale farming is cruel, unnecessary, and clearly doesn’t make good business sense as consumer appetite for meat, eggs and dairy produced to higher welfare standards is increasing. Unless the UK Government acts now, our animal welfare standards here will fall significantly behind those of the EU.

I am the lead signatory on a petition, launched this month, that calls on the Government to ban the use of all cages for farmed animals – because a life in a cage is no life at all.

The UK Government has dithered for too long, while our European neighbours are leading the charge in a move towards more humane farming systems. How much more scientific evidence is needed for the UK Government to do the right thing? It’s time for action. It’s time to End the Cage Age!

Deborah Meaden, Patron of Compassion in World Farming

 

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