Croydon Library Consultation – Proposed Closure of 4 Libraries

Croydon Council is proposing to consult residents on changes to its library service that will make it easier for more people across the borough to enjoy books and activities. Proposals include longer opening hours including weekends, improved facilities in fewer library buildings, and more staff to provide a new outreach service.

A report to the council’s cabinet meeting next week details extensive research into the borough’s library service, following service reductions made since the council’s financial collapse in April 2020. The report can be found on the council website.

Since the changes were introduced, the council has been listening to residents and staff who have said that despite best efforts, the service model isn’t working – that it doesn’t provide the opening hours needed or enough of the services that residents want and need.

The cabinet report sets out the detailed research findings and proposed recommendations for a more sustainable library service. It proposes longer opening hours including weekends, with more events and services available to residents, by reducing the number of buildings and investing in well-used sites. No job losses are proposed, with the council intending to use the majority of the money saved from building costs to increase the number of library staff to provide the extended opening and outreach services. Cabinet will be asked for approval to start consultation on the proposals.

To make these improvements, four library buildings; Bradmore Green, Broad Green, Sanderstead, and Shirley are proposed to be closed. This proposal is based on analysis of the buildings including visitor numbers, size and condition of the buildings, the size and needs of the communities they serve and running costs.

Six libraries (Central, Ashburton, Thornton Heath, Norbury, Selsdon and Coulsdon) are proposed to be open five to six days a week, including Saturdays, and will deliver an extensive offer of books, wifi, PCs, study spaces and events. These libraries have all proved to be well-used, accessible buildings that meet local needs. Future investment in these sites is recommended to improve the facilities and extend the opening times and services available.

Activist’s research found three areas — New Addington, Purley and South Norwood — need library services, but low visitor numbers suggest the current set-up isn’t working. The council is proposing to introduce community hubs in these areas, where a library would be available alongside other services such as family and adult education services and community partnerships.

Through the consultation, residents will be asked for their views and ideas for developing the offer in New Addington, Purley and South Norwood to help design how library services can be improved in these areas, to make them more accessible and better used by local people.

Other library services – such as the home library service and the extensive digital offer, including e-books and magazines, online learning and training resources – are set to continue and be improved as part of the future service.

A 10-week consultation is set to launch after cabinet and residents are encouraged to have their say on the proposals and share their ideas for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the library service. Details will be available from Croydon libraries and on the council’s Get Involved website.

The council is keen to hear the views of those affected by the proposed library closures, including any impacts and alternative options to closing buildings and improving the service for residents. The consultation will also ask for ideas for future library outreach services and community venues that could be used to reach more people. Feedback received will help the council develop further recommendations which will go back to cabinet in May 2024.

Power for People – A Good Year

This year our Community Energy Revolution campaign made excellent progress, thanks to the many who helped at key moments. As we look forward to next year, here is what we achieved in 2023:

1. Thousands of you wrote to your MPs…

If you were one of the many who got in touch with their MP, a massive thank you. It kept the momentum up in Parliament and in constituencies

2. …and we helped many of you respond to their emails.

MPs’ emails can be long and highly technical. We helped you respond to and, when necessary, refute their points. This often shifted an MP’s stance, helped bring many new MPs on board and kept supportive MPs engaged.

3. A majority of MPs in the House of Commons now back new community energy enabling measures.

Our collective efforts have led to this impressive milestone. 326 MPs from all major parties now publicly support the Local Electricity Bill: our proposed law that would empower community energy groups to sell their clean power directly to local people.

4. We won two legislative votes in the House of Lords…

On two separate occasions, we beat the Government whip to see our proposals to help community energy projects included in Government legislation. These victories helped secure new supportive measures from Government.

5. …and got community energy to the top of the agenda at several debates in Parliament.

At several debates this year on energy legislation, community energy was the most featured topic. Given the sector’s current size, this is an outstanding achievement and demonstrates the strength of our collective power.

6. We secured a new £10 million fund for community projects across England…

Our collective advocacy for community energy led to the Government introducing the first new fund to help community energy projects in over six years.

7. ….and we got the Government to promise a consultation on removing the barriers blocking community energy sector growth.

This is a new avenue to achieve reforms to help community energy thrive. When the consultation opens, we will be asking everyone to submit responses to ensure that we can make the most of this excellent opportunity. Again, we will be here to help.

8. Government Ministers are responding more favourably.

This year saw a shift in how the Government treats community energy. For many years they have declined to take action to help create growth in local renewable energy generation. Now, community energy is a subject they are ever more questioned and challenged on in Parliament and they have started to act to empower it.

All the above is testament to our determined collective persistence. We can carry this momentum into the new year as we continue the push for reforms to enable community energy to thrive.

Thank you for making this a good year and I wish you a happy and restful festive break.

Rupert Meadows

Find out more at the Power for People website.

Christmas and New Year Waste and Recycling Collections 2023/2024

Waste and recycling (including clinical waste) collections will change during the weeks beginning 25 December 2023, 1 January 2024 and 8 January 2024. Collections will be up to 4 days later than usual.

Collections will return to normal from Monday 15 January 2024. Please remember to put your bins out by 6am on your collection day.

You can check your collection dates on the Croydon Council website here.

Croydon Council will be collecting your unwanted real Christmas trees from Monday 8 January 2023. Click here for more information.

Click here for the 2023/2024 Christmas Recycling Newsletter (PDF, 5.33MB)

Have your say on Dog Control in Bromley

As part of the ongoing campaign for Responsible Dog Ownership, Bromley Council is keen to hear your thoughts on their new Dog Control Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) proposals, which are due for renewal. While most of the proposed guidelines will remain the same as the current Order, the Council have advised that updates to the current system are needed, which they are looking for your feedback on.

This consultation is to ask residents to share their views on a new proposed Dog Control Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for Bromley.

These proposals give the Council the powers to issue fixed penalty notices for dog fouling, as is currently the case, and means that dogs should be on a lead in certain places, including notably, on the ‘highway’, i.e. in the street.

Dogs would also be excluded from areas in parks such as children’s play areas, much like they are now. Currently, a permit or licence is required for commercial and residential dogs walkers to walk a maximum of 6 dogs (up to 4 dogs without a licence) at any one time. With these new proposals, this number will be reduced to 4 dogs (3 without a licence) with no more than 2 dogs off a lead at any one time.

These proposals are designed to help ensure that dog walkers can properly control their dogs, including when off lead, and can attend and clear up any dog mess. The proposals look to minimise dog-related antisocial behaviour incidents and place high emphasis on dog welfare concerns, and are in line with guidance from the RSPCA, Dogs Trust, and others to professional dog walkers.

Under the current (2020-23) Dog Control PSPO Order:

  • You may walk no more than 4 dogs without a permit, and up to 6 dogs with a permit (no limit on dogs off or on lead)
  • Dogs to be walked on a lead, identified with designated areas
  • Dog exclusion areas identified with designated areas as equipped and unequipped playgrounds, enclosed/fenced sports facilities, paddling pools, boating ponds, areas within recreation grounds.

Under new (2023-26) proposals:

  • You may walk up to 3 dogs without a permit and up to 4 dogs with a permit (2 of those dogs can be off lead at any time in permitted areas).
  • Retaining the same approach to keeping dogs on leads on the public highway and car parks, excluding dogs from children’s play areas, and from other designated areas within greenspaces. The new proposal is to extend the ‘dog on lead’ designated areas to include cemeteries, allotments, water bodies, and café seating areas.

Elements remaining the same:

  • Offences for dog fouling will continue to apply across the Borough
  • Dogs to be put on leads when instructed by an officer
  • Fixed Penalty Notices of £100 may be issued where evidence arises, where someone has not complied with reasonable instructions to picking up dog waste or removing a dog from a restricted area.

Please fill out the survey at www.bromley.govuk/consultation

The consultation closes on Wednesday 31 May 2023.