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#271707 - 26th Nov 2008 1:14am Wirral libraries and leisure centres facing axe
_jase_
Unregistered


THIRTEEN Wirral libraries and three leisure centres are facing the axe.

Wirral Council has announced radical proposals to tackle rising energy costs and the cost of repairing ageing buildings, covering all areas of the borough.

Guinea Gap Baths, Woodchurch Leisure Centre and Grange Road West Sports Centre are recommended for closure along with Birkenhead Central Library.

Also under threat are historic Wirral Museum/Birkenhead Town Hall, with the council expected to look at options for alternative uses or disposal.

The council is also expected to close Wirral Transport Museum in Taylor Street, Birkenhead and look at alternative uses for the site - although one option is to transfer it to a trust.

And Pacific Road in Birkenhead will be closed as an arts centre, with events moving to the Floral Pavilion Theatre in New Brighton.

It wants to create a new central reference library, likely to be at Europa Pools in Birkenhead and spend £20m on 12 "multi-purpose complexes" across the borough, housing council services, library facilities and community space.

Libraries and leisure centres facing the axe are:

LIBRARIES

New Ferry Library

Higher Bebington Library

Bromborough Library/Civic Centre

Hoylake Library

Prenton Library

Ridgeway Library at Ridgeway School

Birkenhead Central Library

Beechwood Library

Pensby Library

Irby Library

Upton Library

Seacombe Library

Wallasey Village Library

LEISURE CENTRES

Grange Road West Sports Centre

Guinea Gap Baths

Woodchurch Leisure Centre

Libraries staff have contacted the News to say they were told not to talk to the press about the closures.

One man said: "The council have just spent a lot of money fixing up Birkenhead Central Library and now they want to close it - what a waste.

"Everyone is very worried about what the future holds."

Council leader Steve Foulkes said "doing nothing was never an option" but Conservative leader Jeff Green has called the proposals "disgraceful".


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#271714 - 26th Nov 2008 2:02am Re: Wirral libraries and leisure centres facing axe [Re: ]
_jase_
Unregistered



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#271717 - 26th Nov 2008 2:06am Re: Wirral libraries and leisure centres facing axe [Re: ]
DavidB Offline
Wiki Guide

Registered: 7th Dec 2003
Posts: 5599
Loc: Bebington, Wirral
Why don't they close the schools and hospitals as well while they're at it. Who in the council gets the priviledge of deciding these things I wonder? F*cking waste of space.
_________________________
"C20 LET bang"

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#271729 - 26th Nov 2008 10:04am Re: Wirral libraries and leisure centres facing axe [Re: DavidB]
chriskay Offline
Forum Veteran

Registered: 25th Oct 2007
Posts: 4868
Loc: shropshire
I cannot believe what I'm reading here; this is vandalism. What about the large number of, mainly, older folk who like to wander round to their local library? For many, it's a rare point of social contact. If I were local I'd be hammering on the door of the Council chamber (if not the councillors).
_________________________
Carpe diem.

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#271734 - 26th Nov 2008 10:20am Re: Wirral libraries and leisure centres facing axe [Re: chriskay]
Handbag Offline
Addict

Registered: 8th Jul 2008
Posts: 251
Loc: Egremont, Wallasey
I bet Wallasey loses out big time... Garaunteed Birkenhead gets everything for its newly regenerated areas while the rest gets leeched away from the council tax payers in Wallasey! Lets hope that our 3 Conservative councillors in Liscard are going to fight for our area... I'm not holding my breath.....

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#271735 - 26th Nov 2008 10:31am Re: Wirral libraries and leisure centres facing axe [Re: Handbag]
MissGuided Offline

Awesome
Wiki Guardian

Registered: 18th Jul 2008
Posts: 9995
Loc: Back of the wardrobe
I think it makes sense to close down places that are not heavily used and may have high running costs. But then that means closing down focal points for the communities around them. Its a tough decision, but is it fare to drain more money out of council tax payers for services you know to be inefficient?
Tough call.
_________________________


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#271740 - 26th Nov 2008 11:12am Re: Wirral libraries and leisure centres facing axe [Re: MissGuided]
Morseman Offline
Addict

Registered: 15th Oct 2008
Posts: 218
Loc: Wallasey
Vandalism, nothing short of vandalism and the whole council should resign. Birkenhead central library is our main library for gods sake.

Pacific road theatre is a marvellous place and is always well attended so what is going wrong?

Let me into the Town hall, I could could costs easily without closing much. I would start with the mayors car and the mayor for that matter. Turn the bloody heating down for one. Turn the lights out. Better still close it all down and bring in a management team who could actually run the borough properly. There is no way I am voting for any of these clowns any more and I have never missed.

Tell me how it is that years back, Wallasey ran its own buses, ferries, water plus thousands of Council houses and homes on far less money than now? Where is the ever increasing Council tax going? Oh yeh not to mention Mr Foulkes and his junket to China and thirtythree grand a year expenses. Resign now!

Sort out the top executives in the Clown hall. Do we need so many on a hundred grand plus every year? Resign the lot of you.
_________________________
Nostalgia ain't what it used to be!

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#271747 - 26th Nov 2008 12:38pm Re: Wirral libraries and leisure centres facing axe [Re: Morseman]
stumpy Offline
Member

Registered: 30th Apr 2008
Posts: 72
Loc: Here
books are gay anyway

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#271756 - 26th Nov 2008 2:40pm Re: Wirral libraries and leisure centres facing axe [Re: stumpy]
Handbag Offline
Addict

Registered: 8th Jul 2008
Posts: 251
Loc: Egremont, Wallasey
I feel really angry about these proposed cuts. Our Governments slogan was 'education, education, education' this round of cuts if they are allowed to go ahead are going to be detrimental to the education of children across Wirral. Those families that are on low incomes and cannot afford a computer and an internet connection are now to be at a huge disadvantage. Ask any teenager how often they are given homework and asked to 'look it up on the internet' and ask your teenagers how often they are given homework and asked to print it off on their computer. For a lot of them you will find that this has become a regular feature of their homework. At least at the Library they had the oportunity to access a computer, internet and printer. The same goes for all the reference books that our children are expected to look through as part of homework.. it will be a bus ride to Birkenhead now.. What also saddens me is the effect that the closure of the Ginnea Gap Baths facility will have on our Community. There are countless numbers of Schools in Wallasey that use the facilities on a daily basis for our local children to learn how to swim and spend time in a healthy sporting activity. I'm sure there will not be the capacity at Europa Pools to accomodate all of Wallasey's children as well as Birkenhead's. I worry also about the elderly and disabled people who are at Ginnea Gap Baths every lunchtime for their swimming sessions. For many of these people it is not just a means of taking part in physical excercise but an oportunity to socialize.

Very Very Badly done WBC!

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#271758 - 26th Nov 2008 3:45pm Re: Wirral libraries and leisure centres facing axe [Re: Handbag]
_jase_
Unregistered


well said, clap every night for the last week or so my lad has come home from school with homework and the lot of it he has needed access to a computer (internet and printer)
and the swimming baths they go on about obeast kids of today. so what do they do close the fookin LEISURE CENTRES.
not right if ye ask me
mad mad


Edited by _jase_ (26th Nov 2008 3:45pm)

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#271760 - 26th Nov 2008 4:02pm Re: Wirral libraries and leisure centres facing axe [Re: ]
MissCalculated Offline

Enthusiast

Registered: 2nd Aug 2008
Posts: 193
Loc: Moreton
Well maybe if they had not put money into dodgy investments in other countries and blown the lot we wouldnt be looking at the closure of so many services that a lot of people rely on.
_________________________

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#271762 - 26th Nov 2008 5:25pm Re: Wirral libraries and leisure centres facing axe [Re: stumpy]
Morseman Offline
Addict

Registered: 15th Oct 2008
Posts: 218
Loc: Wallasey
Originally Posted By: stumpy
books are gay anyway


Nothing wrong with being gay and books are really fantastic if you just apply yourself. You can also get dvds, talking books and research family History etc at libraries. Trouble is you have to get off your arse and visit them. withstupid
_________________________
Nostalgia ain't what it used to be!

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#271766 - 26th Nov 2008 6:17pm Re: Wirral libraries and leisure centres facing ax
BigBadStuey Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 5th Apr 2008
Posts: 131
Loc: Leasowe, Wirral
Quote:
AT LEAST a dozen libraries, three leisure centres, two museums and a theatre are to be shut under radical cost-cutting plans revealed by Wirral Council.

Communities across the borough have reacted with shock at the disclosure that the council is planning a massive cull of some of its best loved buildings.

But last night Cllr Steve Foulkes, leader of Wirral Council, said "doing nothing was never an option".

He said: "If we leave things as they are, we will be left with crumbling buildings, mounting repair costs and escalating levels of council tax."

Condemning the closure scheme, Tory opposition leader Jeff Green, said: "What is the point of having a council if it’s not going to provide the services people want – they tax them through the nose and give nothing back."

The report outlining the plans will be considered by the cabinet on Thursday, and is still subject to consultation, but should lead to £4m savings a year.

The council insists the massive review of all its buildings was necessary and said the plan also includes an investment of £20m over four years to develop a network of "state-of-the-art multi-purpose complexes", some newly built.

It is also possible these could be "co-located" with other public services such as the police, fire and health service, or even private sector organisations.

The council currently faces a £10m backlog of repairs to its buildings – stock which was largely inherited in 1974 from five district councils which previously governed Wirral, each of which brought their own property portfolio. Even today, many of Wirral Council’s assets remain largely unchanged from these.

The authority also faces rising energy costs and a shifting in the centres of population across the borough, as well as dealing with a massive budget deficit, predicted to be £16.6m within a year and £12.7m in two years.

In a long-awaited report – which even had a special cabinet meeting arranged to discuss it last month and was then cancelled at the last minute – the authority recommends pushing ahead with the wholesale closures of council buildings.

As a result, libraries across the borough are to be closed, including the controversial decision to axe the Birkenhead Central Library which would be replaced with a modern facility at the Europa Pools site.

Also facing closure are the leisure centres at Woodchurch, Guinea Gap and Grange Road West, as well as Pacific Road Theatre and the transport museum there, along with Wirral Museum at Birkenhead Town Hall, which could also see the registrars moved and the building "disposed of".

Guinea Gap baths in Seacombe will close and could become part of a major redevelopment scheme for the area, capitalising on the views across the Mersey.

In their place the authority plans to develop 12 "multi- purpose complexes in key community locations across Wirral" to provide a range of services.

These plans include five major offices at Bebington Civic Centre, Birkenhead (probably centred around Europa Pools and incorporating a new central reference library), Liscard, Moreton, and West Kirby (in a modernised Concourse).

There will be seven smaller centres at Eastham, Greasby, Heswall, Leasowe, Rock Ferry, St James and Woodchurch.

In his report Mr Maddox said: "Wirral will have one brand new, state of the art, central reference library, probably located at the Europa Pools site.

"In addition it is envisaged that there will be 11 area libraries at the other multi-purpose complexes."

Many others facilities could be transferred into the hands of local community groups which would operate them – effectively absolving the authority of financial responsibility for them. These include 19 community and recreation centres across the borough, plus Leasowe Lighthouse, New Ferry Village Hall and Ivy Farm.

Even the number of libraries closed could yet be higher, with Wallasey Central Library listed to be retained, but with the comment: "To be reviewed as options are developed for the Liscard Multi-purpose complex."

Last night, opposition politicians were condemning the plans, and the Conservatives’ prospective candidate for West Wirral, Esther McVey, said: "Labour and the Liberal Democrats are clearly out of touch with what is happening in the communities around Wirral.

"How anyone could seriously suggest that closing Hoylake Library is a ‘service improvement’ is beyond belief.

"If their plans go through, then there is no doubt that villages such Irby and Pensby will be much worse off, while many of our community centres will also be facing an uncertain future this Christmas."

And Wallasey councillor Leah Fraser said: "If we needed any further sign of this council’s complete disregard for Wallasey, then this is it.

"Labour’s message couldn’t be clearer, ‘if you want to borrow a book, go to Birkenhead and if you want to go for a swim, go to Europa Pools’.

"Wallasey Central Library and Guinea Gap Baths are two important local facilities that are much loved and well-used. These cuts will be completely unacceptable to people in Wallasey."

Cllr Sheila Clarke in Bebington said: "These cuts are terrible News. I cannot believe that any councillor who knows his or her community will support these cuts.

"Bebington should not be paying the price for this council’s incompetence and I am urging the two Labour councillors in Bebington to work with me to stop the closure of Higher Bebington Library."

The report says that if councillors want some replacements in the areas where existing libraries are recommended for closure "a mobile Library/One Stop Shop service could be established at a projected annual cost of in the region of £200,000".

However, the report added: "Given the council’s present overall financial position, this option is, on balance, not recommended."

Cllr Steve Foulkes said it is essential his authority carries out this review of all the council’s built assets "to ensure they are fit for the 21st Century and beyond".

And he was scathing about the complaints of opposition politicians, saying "jumping up and down and shouting will not solve the council’s problems".

He said without action council tax could "increase exponentially" and this plan will allow the authority to improve services to meet the quality people expect, in locations which suit them.

He said: "If you look at the user numbers we can adequately provide for them, and allow for an expansion if we can attract more customers."

He said the council facilities compete with private gyms and pools, while libraries are effectively in competition with bookshops such as Waterstones.

Cllr Foulkes said: "We are a two star authority and our aim is to become a four star council. Sefton is larger geographically and has eight libraries, yet is a four star council. We have had 24 libraries.

"We have maintained that as long as we can, but you either bury your head in the sand and hope these problems go away – which they won’t – or you deal with them."

He said: "By investing £20m to provide ‘better but fewer’ buildings, Wirral residents will be able to enjoy high-quality and efficient modern facilities while keeping Council Tax at an acceptable level.

"These proposals are rightly radical and comprehensive and will have implications for residents across the borough, not to mention many of our own staff.

"Through consultation and communication with all those affected, we hope to minimise any negative impact of these proposals and move towards the goal of sustainable, modern, energy efficient buildings which will also contribute to the regeneration of our poorest areas."


Something's got to be done I'm sure but surely there's better ways than mass culls of our public services!

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#271767 - 26th Nov 2008 6:26pm Re: Say hello to more decrepit old buildings! [Re: BigBadStuey]
_jase_
Unregistered



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#271770 - 26th Nov 2008 6:48pm Re: Say hello to more decrepit old buildings! [Re: ]
BigBadStuey Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 5th Apr 2008
Posts: 131
Loc: Leasowe, Wirral
Yeah, I saw that just after I posted and there's no delete option, maybe the story can be added as it has more info on what they plan to do.

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