OCT 00] COVENTRY CITY COUNCIL NEWS
Government Steps In As Protest Peaks
officials have demanded answers from Coventry City Council over
its plans to move the library’s information centre and put
public toilets in its place.
the library experts at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport
have received conflicting answers to its request for information.
investigation was launched from the ministry in London after
protestors against the move wrote and complained about the move.
argue that the information centre is too valuable a resource to
moved out of the public eye.
senior civil servant has written to the City Librarian Bob Parsons
at the city council asking for the reasons behind the move.
Library Adviser Peter Beauchamp asked:
should be grateful if you would provide us with a summary of
this proposal, including any resulting changes, and especially
reductions in the service that will result.
would also be helpful if you could explain the rationale behind
particular we would be concerned if the move could impede access
to the library for those with disabilities, senior citizens,
children and socially excluded people.”
Parsons has been off sick for several months, and an answer was
sent back from John McGuigan, whose City Development Directorate
is responsible for getting the new toilets built.
library staff, unhappy at the way that the changes are being
forced through by councillors, have also written to the
letter sent on behalf of Unison members to Mr Beauchamp said of
the information centre:
from the many regular users who come to browse and find out what
they need to know, many people drop in because they just do not
know where else to go; some are very confused or distressed.
of the users are from the most socially deprived groups in the
city who find the easy access an incentive to use the service.
would undoubtedly be deterred, in most cases completely deterred
by the need to go to the second floor of the library
trade unions and library users have not been consulted on this
plan or involved in any discussions regarding its
Dave Batten, cabinet member in charge of the project, has said
that staff have had a chance to have their input.
library staff say that is over the design of the toilets, and not
the principle of them going in the library building.
of the city council’s scrutiny board will look at the decision
again tomorrow. If they still disagree with the cabinet’s
decision then a final verdict will be reached at the council
meeting in the evening.
are planning to lobby councillors for a final time before the
decision is made.