Friends say radical change is required for library
Shirley Hadi, the Chair of Friends
of Chiswick Library, says that there are more options that the current
Workspace plan and closure
While negotiations between the Council and Workspace go on behind
shut doors, the public debate about the future of Chiswick Library
is fuelled by alarmism: At its most extreme, it is claimed that
either we accept Workspace's original design or the library is closed
there is no alternative. Have what you are
told or nothing at all.
No, the present library would not necessarily be closed when the
Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) comes into force next year.
There will be many libraries and other public buildings in the same
position as ourselves. They will not all be closed on day one. Closure
would in the first instance require
a complaint under the Act that cannot be resolved. If plans are
in place to make the necessary improvements, it is likely that time
would be given to
rectify the situation that gives rise to the complaint.
suggests an alternative to Workspace's scheme and that is to modify
Chiswick Library in such a way as to comply with the provisions
of the DDA. At the last session of the Chiswick Area Committee (30
04 03) a resolution was passed to the effect that costed proposals
for such essential adaptations be presented for consideration at
its next meeting.
It has been claimed that objections to Workspace's original relegation
of the library space to the basement of a huge office block have
led to their withdrawal. Not so. The scheme was subject to independent
evaluation by a firm called Hillier Parker. We have not been allowed
to know their findings. We understand that a meeting between the
Council and Workspace to discuss them as
well as new plans put forward by the Council will be held within
the next month.
Until the outcome of this meeting is known, discussion of the views
of either party remains pure speculation. The Friends of Chiswick
Library was and remains opposed to an underground
location for a public library especially when it is specific to
the needs of the disabled: access only by lift or narrow staircase,
a potential hazard, is unacceptable.
To keep telling Workspace that their solution is the only alternative
to closure undermines the Council's bargaining position. That said,
we have to admit that Acts without the funding to implement them
force those who have to comply into the arms of the dread PFI (Private
Finance Initiative) where company profit tops the agenda. The government
has issued guidelines (Framework for the Future) as to what every
library should provide by 2013. Will it put its money where its
Quite obviously our library as it stands is inadequate now and becomes
more and more so with every passing year. Radical change is required
and such change has been made in other London boroughs and in other
parts of the country in Norwich, for example. What we could
have done with the money wasted on the Millennium Dome!
Friends of Chiswick Library hopes to organise a public meeting in
the near future to give an opportunity for wider and lengthier informed
discussion of these controversial issues than is possible on the
crowded agenda of Chiswick Area Committee meetings.
Chair: Friends of Chiswick Library
May 21, 2003
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on this story on the
of Library uncertain
remain concerned by library plans
Friends response to Chiswick Library Development Plan
of Public Meeting and discussion of plans