A fair deal for Upper Norwood

 In Croydon, News

Labour’s Steve Reed has joined forces with Upper Norwood Library campaigners to call for fair funding for Upper Norwood Library despite Government funding cuts that have unfairly hit Croydon and Lambeth.  Both councils are currently consulting on future plans for their library services.

Upper Norwood Library, jointly funded by Lambeth and Croydon councils, has been saved after repeated Tory attempts to kill it off.  Croydon’s previous Conservative council ripped up the 100-year-old joint agreement that created the library so they could slash their share of funding and try to sell off the building.  Labour’s win in last year’s Croydon council elections means the Tories’ closure plans were blocked.

Steve Reed has a long track record of defending the library.  When he was leader of Lambeth Council before being elected MP for Croydon North, he protected his council’s share of funding even after Croydon Tories slashed theirs, and he said no when Croydon’s ruling Tories demanded the library building should be sold off.  The Conservatives’ general election candidate in Croydon North was one of the leading Tories responsible for these attacks on the library.

A joint statement issued outside the library by Steve Reed and the Save Upper Norwood Library Campaign says:

“The joint funding of the Upper Norwood Library by both Lambeth and Croydon for more than 100 years is a model of cross-borough co-operation that benefits the entire community of Crystal Palace.  Residents in Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood have consistently made clear their support for a properly funded, professionally staffed library in public consultations held by both councils.  We want to see the Upper Norwood Joint Library receive at least the same funding per head of population as equivalent town centre libraries in Croydon and Lambeth, and Croydon to meet their commitment to fully match all funding from Lambeth including any from the endowment fund.

“Lambeth and Croydon should both continue to recognise the unique status of this library and its role in providing statutory library services for the community it serves across several borough boundaries.  We ask Croydon council to restore, in the Council’s constitution, the historic references to the Upper Norwood Library that were removed by the previous Conservative administration when they broke the joint funding agreement. 

“We support the community trust that has been formed to take control of the library and help raise much-needed additional funds to support and enhance its professionally staffed library service.  We look forward to working with both councils, the Trust and the community to find a way forward that is fair to the entire community of Upper Norwood and Crystal Palace and which guarantees the long-term stable future which the library so desperately needs and the community wants to see.”