Local MP Steve Reed has congratulated the Upper Norwood Library Trust who are due to take control of the much-loved library on 1 May. The community trust was set up to ensure the library’s long-term future after Croydon’s previous Tory council ripped up the 100-year-old agreement that underpinned the library so they could close it down and sell off the building.
Steve had a long track record of defending the Upper Norwood Library. When Croydon’s Tory councillors tried to close it down, Steve – then leader of Lambeth Council – worked with local campaigners to keep it open. Steve secured the legal advice that stopped the Tories selling the library building and protected Lambeth Council’s share of the funding even after Croydon’s Tories slashed theirs. The Tory threat finally receded after Labour won control of Croydon Council and scrapped the closure plans.
While he was leader of Lambeth, Steve protected every library in the borough and opened a brand new library in Clapham, handing the old building over to the community as an arts hub.
Steve is due to meet the new community trustees at the Upper Norwood Library to discuss their plans for developing the service in the future. He said: “It’s tragic that over 340 libraries have closed since David Cameron entered Downing Street because of the Government’s unfair funding cuts. The Upper Norwood Library is a vital part of the local community. I strongly believe that decisions about vital public services like this should be taken with the community rather than imposed on them by politicians. The community trust will ensure that is what happens in Upper Norwood.”
He continued: “these changes mean the library is finally safe from any further Tory attempt to sell off the building. I’m looking forward to working with the new Trust and making sure they always get a fair deal from both Croydon and Lambeth councils. This fantastic library serves people in both boroughs and it’s only fair that both boroughs should remain fully committed to its future.”