Ruth Cadbury 'Clash' Over Chiswick Library
War of words erupt between Labour election candidate and local councillors
Labour's parliamentary candidate Ruth Cadbury has clashed with Chiswick councillors over funding to refurbish Chiswick Library.
Following criticism from Cllr John Todd over her refusal to back a proposal for a £1 million Council budget amendment to upgrade the library in Dukes Avenue, she accused Chiswick councillors of wanting to divert money earmarked for affordable housing towards refurbishing the library at a time of financial shortages. Cllr Cadbury also blamed the local councillors for the lack of progress in upgrading the Library.
Cllr Todd had said recently he was particularly disappointed at Ruth Cadbury's lack of support during the debate on the Hounslow Council annual budget. He pointed out that Cllr Cadbury holds a surgery in the library and must be well aware of its condition.
But Ruth Cadbury in response accused the Chiswick councillors of opportunistic "point scoring" and said: “If the Chiswick Councillors truly wanted to find a solution for a 21st century library they would have worked with the Council rather than blocking every idea put forward. Even when they controlled Hounslow they left Chiswick out of the programme of library improvements"
Ruth Cadbury said “We can all agree that Chiswick Library is currently not fit for purpose. It’s on three levels with the upper floor only accessible via stairs. But in an environment of Council budget cuts, the issue is how we find the money to invest.”
Ms Cadbury, who is also a councillor for Brentford ward, added; “Chiswick Councillors have always opposed plans to address the situation at Chiswick library. Their amendment at the budget meeting asked us to stop building affordable homes to pay for the proposal. If they are serious about trying to improve Chiswick Library rather than simply trying to score points with an opportunistic amendment on the night to an already developed budget, I’m more than happy to sit down and talk to them about a detailed plan we could work with the council to deliver.”
In a statement (March 7th) Cllr Todd said; "No Chiswick Cllr has ever obstructed or inhibited the refurbishment of the Chiswick Library." He said they were "wild and inaccurate allegations."
"She is welcome to inspect my Chiswick Library file. During the Conservative Administration a plan for the Chiswick Library was developed but not implemented. Other LBH Libraries were considered to need more urgent refurbishment. A total of £4.7 m was spent.
"Post 2010 when the Labour Administration returned I, as a representative of the Chiswick Area Committee (CAF) attended a number of Chiswick Library refurbishment project at the Civic centre with architects and Officers. I still have a copy of the project brief. There were clearly related issues that were being discussed out of my sight and hearing. These I learnt some time later were the option of moving the Library to the Town Hall or the Chiswick Day Centre. A LBH Library Consultation was held in 2012. However any potential new strategy resulting from this exercise remains in suspense."
Cllr Todd said he identified £600,000 of S106 funds which it was agreed could be used for a Chiswick Library Project. Regrettably it was taken and used as funding for Gunnersbury house and Grounds, he said.
He had repeatedly asked for an update from Hounslow Council officials last year and was basically told nothing was happening. Local councillors were now seeking, with residents, to start a Friends of Chiswick Library.
Cllr Peter Thompson, Leader of the Conservative Group said last week ; “Our library as it stands is inadequate now and becomes more and more so with every passing year. It is the second busiest in the Borough and it is definitely in the worst condition of any of Hounslow’s Libraries. The Reference Library and Local Studies rooms are inaccessible to those with mobility issues and it is crying out for investment to preserve and renovate the Victorian features of the library and provide modern facilities that meet the needs of today’s users."
He called on Hounslow Council to "stop dithering" on the issue.
March 9th, 2015