Campaigners fighting to save the Folkestone (‘Grace Hill’) library celebrate a “significant step forward” as Kent County Council promise a consultation and face-to-face meeting on the library’s future.
In response to a legal letter sent by PILC on behalf of campaigners regarding the closure of Folkestone (‘Grace Hill’) library (read about it here) Kent County Council (KCC) have stated:
“KCC is willing to work with the Claimant and the local community on exploring the short, medium and long term arrangements for the library service. KCC has been exploring a range of options for temporary service provision and is in a position to discuss these now with the Claimant and the local community in an effort to co-design and minimise the impact of the current temporary closure.”
The offer of this meeting is being hailed as a partial victory in efforts to secure the library’s future, as is the disclosure of information on decision making which led to the closure and the promise of consulting with the community on future plans.
“PILC as our legal advisers with assistance from Anthony Vaughan of Doughty Street Chambers, set out clearly and in a formal way the core concerns of the Save Our Library campaign: a lack of transparency, the risk of increasing inequality, the moral case for community engagement in decision making.
“The response from KCC has – in their own words – involved a refreshing ‘candour’. They have provided detail on the financial background in place of more generic figures circulating previously; the decision making context and the recognition of community concerns is made explicit for the first time.
“Overall the exchange has produced clarity on how this situation has evolved and where the responsibilities lie. It is also possible for the first time to see a glimmer of possibility that we can find a way forward by engaging in a more constructive dialogue.
“This is a very significant step forward: I very much welcome this offer (to meet with KCC) and look forward to a meaningful discussion – as a first step towards remedying the situation with and for our local community. I am indebted to PILC and Anthony Vaughan for their support and understanding of the issues.”