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Library Staff Pan Council's Toilet Plans

Library staff in Coventry have launched a scathing attack on Coventry’s council leader in the row over public toilets replacing the information centre.

A committee of staff concerned at the move has written a letter condemning Cllr Nick Nolan for failing to take into account the strong opposition to the move.

The council’s scrutiny board will meet tomorrow in to decide whether adequate consultation has been carried out.

Staff have carried out protests outside the library against the plans. They fear the new toilets are not appropriate for the library building and that the services available in the information centre would be lost to vulnerable people if it were moved upstairs.

The letter said:

“The one element that seems to be missing from Nick Nolan's so-called response to the overwhelming opposition to the council's plan to replace the Information Centre with public toilets is any recognition of the concept of democracy.

“Bernard Moore produced a 3000+ name petition against this ludicrous plan - a document which would have been even more substantial had he not been forbidden from collecting further names in the Library - on instructions from the Council House.

“Mr Nolan dismisses the petition recently placed before the council as 'well-orchestrated'. How many letters has the council received congratulating them on this magnificent idea?”

“There is a need for extra toilets in the city centre - but surely there are better locations that will not result in the loss of such an invaluable service.

“If the City Centre Company and the council are convinced of this need, surely they ought to be extending the planned provision in the Lower Precinct development.”

The staff say they have had no proper consultation with staff, and representatives have been “harassed and badgered” at a recent meeting with cabinet members.

And they say the move goes against the council’s own principles of social inclusion, set out in the Coventry Community Plan.

The letter reads:

“The removal of the Information Centre from its present site seems to us a prime example of Social EXCLUSION

“How many mothers with prams and/or small children, wheelchair users and the generally less mobile will be prepared to trek upstairs in the hope of finding what is now easily accessible at street level?

“The proposal that the Information Centre can be relocated to the main library floor just shows just how divorced from reality the council is.

“The library service has not been properly financed for years and the central library is already overcrowded. What the council don't seem to take into consideration is that the Information Centre comprises not just the public area but an equally large storage area downstairs.”

The letter concludes by pointing out that library users would have to go down three flights of stairs and then pay to use the toilets if the facilities on the main floor were taken out to make room for the Information Centre.


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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 8 Nov 00
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