Wokingham libraries not to be sold off


A little piece of good news this weekend, courtesy of the folks over at Save Wokingham’s Libraries. They quote a press release (which I have seen, and can therefore vouch for, even if it’s not online for me to link to), which seems to indicate that Wokingham Borough Council have decided not to go ahead with the proposed privatisation of library services.

Which is excellent news, frankly. It was the libraries issue (primarily) which brought me into local politics a year and a bit ago, and it has been key to the two local election campaigns I’ve run. It would be churlish of me to claim that it was my efforts personally which have led to this change of heart, but I have no doubt that it is the tireless campaigning by the cross-party group Save Wokingham’s Libraries and also concerned local residents that we have to thank for this.

Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for common sense and disaster aversion (also, Internal Services), announcing the decision, said:

The council has been working with interested parties in a competitive dialogue process to see if there are ways that we can work with the private sector to improve the library service we offer. The result is that we haven’t been convinced there will be enough benefits for our library users to continue with the process. We also don’t want to take the risk the key objectives would not be achieved for our users.

Well done Pauline. I feel that this is the correct moment to point out that when she was appointed to the executive, I hailed it as a shot in the arm for sound politics and administration in Wokingham local government. And well done to the people of Wokingham Borough.

Now let’s hope for some headway on the bins next month.

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3 comments

  1. actually Matthew, it was primarily a Lib Dem campaign, led by Anthony Vick and Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey, both of whom stood for council as Lib Dems – and Rachelle was elected in May. But I agree you did sign the petition and did help collect some signatures, although groups of Lib Dems did most of it, week after week.

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    1. The petition primarily was Lib Dem (and well done on that), but I know that a lot of ordinary residents wrote to councillors, to the paper, to the executive and applied pressure in other ways. Neither should be discounted,.and both congratulated.

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