Bury Green Party

We call on all "Save Bury Library" protesters to join us on Sunday 23rd March at St Joseph Parish Centre, 132 Walmersley road. 7.pm

20 March 2014

This crazy plan can be stopped ! If you wish to see our Central Library reinstated, come and join us on Sunday 23rd March at 132, Walmersley road, 7pm  or contact us:  haydockbgp@yahoo.com or tel 0161 7015160.

Following Bury Green Party's formal objection to the refurnishment of the Central Library Grade II listed building resulting in the clearing of its floor space to allow fo a Sculpture Centre, "Save Bury Library" campaigners presented their 3000 strong petition at the Full Council meeting on 21st January 2014.

Remaining unusually subdued, councillors from both sides of the Chamber listened attentively to "Save Bury Library" campaigner  Sue Smith's and her impassionate plea to reconsider their plan. She reported that people have been appalled and felt insulted by the plan.

But Sue Smith and her supporters' plea fell on deaf ears. Shamefully, the petition was rejected.

However, questions from members of the public have raised a  number of issues which remain unanswered and may  prove the whole project to not only be highly controversial and unpopular, but also financially unsound.

The purpose of the meeting on Sunday 23rd March is to explore all the possible alternative solutions to the destruction of our library. Wigan Council has found one and it works ! so why not in Bury?

The first question put to Leader of the Council by "Save Bury Library " members to  Mike Connolly, was :  "Is there proper evidence in the form of market reseach and a strong business plan to back these claims that can be made available for public viewing?"

The answer was that the business plan was not available as it is was an extension of the existing business plan from the Arts and Museum which is one of the top three in the UK.

Since the Full Council meeting,  we have secured a copy of Bury Sculpture Centre Business Plan,  together with a detailed  Project Plan.

The Project Plan confirms that no marketing research has yet been conducted.  

We are still looking for evidence that Bury Arts Museum is indeed one of top three in the UK !

The second question from Sue Smith was : " The success of the sculpture centre seems to rest heavily on the Arts Gallery manager's contacts and deals in the art world. Is there a contingency plan, should it not be successful?"

In his inimitable style, Mike Connolly replied:  " There is no contingency plan,  as it will be successful " and added, onimously, " it is difficult to gauge ", whilst informing councillors and members of the public  that there was already existing plans for 3 exhibitions up to 2015 and "a high profile programme".  

A further question regarding the insurance cost of those exhibitions was left unanswered, but re-assurances were given that there would be no additional staffing cost as CCTV would be used.

The existence of a 15 pages Business Plan however is in direct contradiction with this statement as it shows that in addition to an extension of the staffing organisation of the Arts Gallery and Museum and volunteers, there will be one technical assistant/apprentice joiner on a 30 hours contract and a Sculpture Centre Officer to provide curating expertise.

Furthermore, the Budget - Sculpture Centre income and expenditure  lists a Visitor Assistant and a Visitor Assistant (Tech) at £14060.8 a year each and £2812.16 for extra hours for the shop.


Bury Green Party's position has been and remains unambiguously opposed to the Sculpture Centre as proposed for the following reasons:

1.  local residents who took part in the 2013 " Plan for Change" consultation exercise  about their priorities regarding the future of local services - including Bury libraries- were kept in the dark about Labour's apparent support for Bury Arts Gallery and Museum Manager Tony Trehy's long -held pet project to incorporate a Sculptor Centre in our one and only Central Library 

2.  with 2/3 of the library book stock removed and the floor space being largely taken away,  some of our most vulnerable and poorest members of our communities are the ones who are  most affected by the plan  

3.  until proved to the contrary, there is no evidence that local tax-payers' money to the sum of £75,000 subsidy will ever be recouped. Serious concerns remain as to the long term viability of the scheme

4.  whilst library staff been made redundant as a direct result of the Coalition Government's  unnecessary and unfair cuts in Local Authorities' grants,  there will be new staffing and other operational costs involved.

By launching our "Reinstate our Library " campaign, we intend to continue to support "Save Bury Library" campaigners to the best of our abilities and explore all possible alternative to re-open the library until such time as our Elected Members listen to the people and reconsider their decision.

Please come and join us on Sunday 23rd March and let's get to work ! 















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