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IN THE FUTURE: Best thing for Colwyn Bay library would be to move it to Coed Pella

IN THE FUTURE: Best thing for Colwyn Bay library would be to move it to Coed Pella

Colwyn Bay Library in November 2020, Image: Google Maps

Colwyn Bay Library could still move to Conwy’s modern Coed Pella building in the future, despite overwhelming public feeling against the move. 

Last week Conwy’s economy and place scrutiny committee recommended the library remained on Woodland Road West as a ‘community hub’. 

A public consultation between May 24 and July 18 saw Conwy County Council flooded with appeals from people pleading with the council not to close or move the service. 1,766 people signed the i-petition ‘Conwy Council Please Do Not Close or Move Colwyn Bay Library’.   

But despite the petition, cabinet members today (Tuesday) voted for the original recommendation, which was to approve the Library and Information Strategy and explore the options for a community hub at Colwyn Bay Library. 

This is slightly different to scrutiny’s recommendation and the amended action of ‘delivering’ the community hub. 

The five-year plan will plot the course for libraries over the coming years and seek to make financial savings. 

But cabinet members argued there was little value in maintaining Colwyn Bay Library, which badly needed repairs, when the nearby Coed Pella Building on Conway Road could modernise services.  

Goronwy Edwards said: “I think it would be foolhardy to dismiss moving to Coed Pella myself. Future proofing the library service is our key role, not maintaining historical buildings. So I do think we need to look at this again. I can understand local members wanting to keep it in their ward. The consultation took (place) during the COVID period, and I think there were issues during the consultation because I think many people thought we were closing the library and not relocating it, which is only two streets away from where it currently is.” 

Cllr Chris Cater agreed: “It is sad that the (relocation) plan seems to be resisted so strongly.”  

Conwy chief executive Iwan Davies reminded the cabinet there was a subtle difference between approving the report and the revised strategy and the scrutiny committee’s recommendation.  

“It’s a subtle but important difference because an option study is one thing, to see what is achievable,” said Mr Davies. 

“Where as the recommendation from scrutiny is crack on and deal with it, so I think as a cabinet you need to turn your minds to that.” 

 Cllr Brian Cossey said: “I think the residents of Colwyn Bay who responded have actually missed a trick altogether, and the best thing that could happen to the library would be for it to move into the building in Coed Pella. 

“The big issue on the consultation was the fact that within the document there was no clue as to what was going to happen to the existing (library) building.” 

He added: “How long does a resolution that includes that a service should stay in a building last for? Is that in perpetuity, for five years? I think we are tying our hands at a time when we could do with flexibility to decide exactly what will happen with the existing library building.” 

The library strategy will also see the continued development of Conwy’s Culture Centre, a feasibility study for a community hub at Abergele and an evaluation of the community library model across the county.  

A new library has already opened at Llanrwst’s Glasdir building in September. 

The strategy will also look at how the council can work in partnership to improve health and social care and how resources can help mental health and wellbeing. 

The report also said technology can be used to improve information services and look at remote services and mobile libraries.  

Cllr Brian Cossey proposed councillors supported the report, and the vote was unanimous.

 

Words: Richard Evans, Local Democracy Reporter


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