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HomeNewsKent Libraries At Risk Of Closure

Kent Libraries At Risk Of Closure

Kent County Council are reviewing Kent’s libraries as they look to reduce costs. Kent’s 99 public library buildings are under threat of being sold off to save money, council bosses have announced.

Kent County Council’s deputy leader Peter Oakford said the disposals could come in the 2025-26 budget to help the cash-strapped council stay afloat. But rather than admit the truth, the deputy leader is claiming that Kent has “far too many libraries”.

Cllr Oakford told the policy and resources cabinet committee on Wednesday 17th January 2024 that libraries could be “sold or disposed of” to local community groups such as parish councils. But he added that KCC will not be “gifting” library buildings to outside bodies such as parish councils. It is unlikely that many parish councils will be able ot afford such premises without financial help from local residents.

KCC must find tens of millions of pounds worth of savings in the face of squeezed government funding and rising costs. The council are looking for alternative cost saving measures after the Conservative-run council recently shelved the proposed closure of four of the county’s rubbish tips after a massive public outcry.

Tory Cllr Peter Oakford wants to close as many as 33 libraries across Kent

Despite there being millions of children living in Kent, the libraries now seem to be an easier target. It is thought that one third of the libraries in Kent could be affected. Liberal Democrat opposition group leader, Cllr Antony Hook, claimed residents’ reaction to the loss of libraries is likely to be akin to “the tips on stilts”.

Cllr Antony Hook, leader of the Liberal Democrats on KCC said “We are appalled at this Conservative plan to cut libraries”.

Lenham Parish Council chairman John Britt described any closure as “madness”.

Another opponent to the proposed plan said “There are not too many libraries, but maybe there are too many Tory Councillors”.

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