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 'Medway Liberal Democrats respond to Rainham Library Building being under Threat'

January 11, 2021 3:55 PM
By SB/AW 2021

Rainham Library Building 1 Rainham Library BuildingMedway council are in the process of reviewing whether to move Rainham Library to new a location within Rainham, with the idea to merge it with other council facilities to form a Community Hub. These have been proven in other parts of Medway to be a good use of building facilities to save costs and potentially increase the number of people using our libraries. Medway Liberal Democrats believe they are a good idea and continue to support their use throughout Medway.

However, we are shocked that the Conservative Council plans are to abandon the current Rainham Library building, without giving consideration to refurbishing the building and allowing it to become the community hub. The Rainham Library has been an iconic landmark building for generations of Rainham residents. Many of their children have learnt to love books within its walls and has bought the community together in many ways.

Stuart Bourne, a local resident whose children use the library, said, 'We can't just abandon something like that just to save money. It is a wonderfully unique building, which has a charm all to itself. It is buildings like this that give Rainham its character and makes it such a special place to live. Why can't they refurbish it like they did to the library in Wigmore? This appears to be a plan to bring money into the council by selling the land for development.'

What is also worrying is the secrecy with which the Conservative controlled Council is surrounding these plans. The first time any residents heard about them is when the story broke in the local press. Almost immediately, the meeting that is planned to discuss this proposal is being held away from the public and any scrutiny. The plans before cabinet have two options, the first is to do nothing, the other option is to close the current library and relocate the library to a community hub in a different location. We believe that serious consideration should be given to an option in the review to investigate refurbishing the current library into a community hub.

Therefore, Medway Liberal Democrats are calling on Medway Council to change how it is conducting this review of Rainham Library's future.

  • We are calling for all meetings and reports to be made public, including publishing all the evidence of any decisions made

  • Hold a public meeting to ensure residents views on the future of the library are heard

  • Hold a public consultation on specific plans

  • We call for the council to be open and transparent with residents of Rainham about their plans for the library building if they choose to move the library.