Labour’s plans for Hove Library in tatters as opposition parties expected to vote them down

Posted On 09 Jun 2016 at 3:00 pm

Labour’s plans to move Hove Library down the road to Hove Museum look set to be dealt a near-fatal blow this evening as the Green and Tory parties team up to vote them down.
Hove Library. Image from Google Streetview
The news comes after the plans were pulled from the agenda of April’s policy and resources committee when Labour learnt that opposition councillors were planning to table an amendment to delay the plans.

They then said they would ask for a more detailed business case, which was finally published on Tuesday, and which showed that previous estimates to repair the listed Carnegie building currently home to Hove Library could have been hugely overestimated.

While the business case still concluded that the preferred choice should be to move the library, it said that the cost of keeping the library in its current location could be as little as £301,000 over five years, less than half the figure of £750,000 originally stated. At most, they would be £735,000.

The Greens have consistently said they will vote against the plans, and the Tories are now signalling that they will join them.

Convenor of the Green group, Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty said: “We will be going into the committee having had just over 24 hours to consider Labour’s full business case for the move. This is scandalous and is no way to make proper decisions.

“Our preliminary analysis suggests that there are still significant risks in the plans, which will lead to a significant deterioration in the quality of the library service for the people of Hove as well as the loss of a local cultural treasure.

“We are determined to hold Labour to account and will be considering our own proposals to respond to the huge popular demand to keep the library open.”

Meanwhile, residents are left wondering what the fate of the city’s library services will be, as all three parties appear more interested in scoring party political points than safeguarding the service’s future.

  1. Gerald Wiley Reply

    Very interesting article, but not sure how the plans are in ‘tatters’ – even though the “Save Hove Library” supporters may want it believe to be the situation..

    According to The Argus, the Greens and Conservatives have an alternative plan to provide additional funding to keep The Carnegie building open to run library services.

    But what are the details of this plan, and if additional funding is available, wouldn’t it be better spent on other needs in the city. I’ll look forward to see what the result of tonight’s meeting will be.

    I’m also annoyed that if the Green and Conservatives are happy to work together to block a plan that would reduce costs and improve library services for the residents of Hove, just to make political mileage – then why didn’t Labour and Conservatives work together on the previous 4 years?

    And I see ex-Green councillor Christopher Hawtree’s meddling at work behind the scenes – as it was with the “genius” plan to demolish the museum and then build an 8-story library/museum/flats tower block on the site. He’ll do absolutely anything to keep library services in his beloved Carnegie – even if it is a total waste of public money and there is a better solution available that can save costs.

  2. Valerie Paynter Reply

    The eight storey tower block plan came from the Regency Society and went straight to Geoff Raw, as I recall from articles at the time. The future of that Museum site is now going to have to be homed in on as it is in a dreadful state and underused. A failure as a museum and about to lose the tea room for lack of footfall.

    View the P&R meeting on the archived webcast of it when it goes up. It was a corker and Geoffrey Theobald’s former glory as an orator was in full flowing evidence as he really let rip. Best speech from him I have ever heard. Our opposition councillors’ finest hour.

    • Christopher Hawtree Reply

      Yes, there was cross-Party agreement that Geoffrey Theobald was amazing. By the third paragraph of his speech, cllr Morgan had slid under his chair and was demanding oxygen. It was a sensational meeting.

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