I would like to respond to the concerns raised in your letters page about the future of a city centre library, and to thank the Star for their emphatic support for keeping a library in the heart of the city. As I have said before, the new library will be in the heart of the city but the precise location has not been decided.
Howard Greaves, Hallamshire Historic Buildings, asserted recently in your letter pages that the council are seeking to demolish the grade II listed building which houses central library.
Rather than destroying this precious building, we will be preserving its future.
The library building desperately needs £30 million worth of repairs, so no change is not an option.
An inspiring, inclusive and accessible new library would be more in tune with the needs of the city.
We have no desire to see the existing building removed from our streets and this will categorically not happen. The potential development would mean that the building will continue in a new life and bring about the first five-star hotel for city.
I completely understand that when the proposal was announced that people reacted strongly. I had the same reaction. However, we have worked really hard to engage with people and answer all questions. I am really pleased with how the public consultation events have gone. It is now becoming very well understood that we are looking to improve on the library service provided, safeguard the future of the Graves gallery collection and the central library building, and bring about investment in the city centre that we need.
It is a real shame that some have tried to use Central library for purely political point scoring, recklessly spreading fear.
The Green Party have disingenuously told people that the council are looking to get rid of a central library without any replacement.
What is particularly galling is that despite all of their talk about what they would do to keep the present library open – in turn shutting out millions of pounds worth of investment – when council set next year’s Budget on Friday the Greens raised no objections and made no mention at all to central library.
So why then are they continuing to spread such untruths? The Greens councillors and former leader Natalie Bennett have shown that not only do their sums not add up, they are all protest placard and no action.
I want to reassure your readers that the council are doing everything to make sure we have a library service we are all proud of in the city centre and that we safeguard our precious buildings.
Coun Jack Scott
Cabinet member for community services and libraries