Thursday, February 9, 2023

Chafford Library still causing conflict

The thorny subject of Chafford Hundred library’s closure remains a political hot potato at Thurrock Council, with emotions running high at Wednesday’s full council meeting.

Council leader John Kent was ambushed on the subject when he gave a financial report on the authority’s status and then Chafford councillor Tunde Ojetola and portfolio holder Lynn Worrall became involved in an emotive exchange about it.

Delivering his report on the Council’s financial situation Cllr Kent revealed that expenditure on libraries was below budget, prompting Cllr Garry Hague to ask: “Why do we continue to attack when there is a surplus in libraries and culture of £40,000?”
However, Cllr Kent went on the front foot to respond by saying: “I think it’s bizarre people think we are attacking libraries at Chafford Hundred when the school that hosts the library has decided they wanted us out – they evicted us.”

But he did recognise Tory concerns by saying: “If it makes people happy we will go round the block one more time.”
Later in the meeting Cllr Ojetola quizzed Cllr Worrall on methods of teaching reading in borough schools and turned the spotlight on Chafford Hundred library again, saying: “Pulling libraries from communities is robbery” and he rounded on Cllr Worrall for not supporting the Chafford Hundred library enough.

Cllr Worrall was visibly angered by his comments and accused him of making political capital out of the issue, sayimng: “Chafford Hundred Library was in the gift of the school, not the Council. You sent me an email asking me to get involved then two hours later without giving me the chance to respond you went to the press and criticised me.”

5 COMMENTS

  1. So as per Cllr Kents statement that the library was evicted by Chafford Hundred Campus, what sort of picture does this paint for that school where they effect a closure on a place of public learning, maybe CHC are doing this as they did not get their own way on certain issues with TBC, bit like throwing their toys out of their pram…..

  2. As the Chafford Hundred library saga rumbles on let us not forget the real reason how it all started. The hours for the library were reduced due to the cuts that were forced on the council by the Tory led government. These cuts are also the reason for the council not being able to afford the money to move and re-open the library in one or other of the buildings that have been suggested for the new library. Perhaps Tunde and the other Tories should look closer to home rather than trying to blame the current administration over problems caused by their own party.

  3. Could the cuts that Red Rebe has mentioned have anything to do with the last Labour administration spending all the money???

  4. Lambo

    I agree with Red Rebl on this one, the whole chain of cuts was directly linked to the cuts imposed by the Con Dem government.

    The facts are the other way around – when Labour took control of the council last year they took over with less than 2 million in reserves – the recommended is nothing less than 5 million.

    In their last year of control the tories had overspent on the councils budget by over 4 million. Had they been more prudent for their six years in control like other council some of the cuts could have been cushioned by the reserves.

  5. I love the way the Socialist’s like to conflate things. Whilst it is perfectly legitimate to accuse the Tories of running down the reserves the last time they were in power it is absolutely not legitimate to equate it to the vast defecit bequeathed to us all by the last Labour Government. They are two different issues. We have cuts now because of the ruinous state of the country’s finances.

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