Lewisham Council's 4th June community showcase event - a chance to meet bidders for the planned 'community' libraries - was cancelled, leading to suspicions that maybe there were no bidders. Or not enough to go round at any rate. Was the Council's schedule slipping, or even falling apart?
In fact, a local Forest Hill community bid has gone in for Forest Hill Library, but what about the other two? We've now learnt that there is no bidder left in the running for Manor House Library, so the whole tender process is to be re-run. Furthermore, there is no formal or completed bid in for Torridon Road Library either, just a letter of intent from local community groups. Apparently, the Council wants to go ahead in September with changing how Torridon Road is run, even without the kinds of information and guarantees that you would expect from such a momentous move. How would it be staffed? Will it be a proper library? What level of long term financial security can be projected if the idea isn't fully worked through yet? Is there even a costed business plan?
The process has clearly not gone as planned, and we are left with more questions than ever. Watch this space.
We need to make sure our Council is held to account when public money and public services are at stake.
On the 4th July the Stronger Safer Communities Select Committee meets to agree on what's suggested for these libraries. It's open to the public and so there's a chance to put your views. Questions can also be put in advance to the Mayor and Cabinet meeting on the 13th.