All Options Open In Rescue Plan For Bembridge Library

Report from Bembridge library meeting

Many thanks to Richard Beet for this report from Wednesday night’s meeting to discuss the future of Bembridge Library. Ed

Co-operate with Isle of Wight Council to save Bembridge Library yet work to support a legal challenge to stop it from closing island libraries “¦ that’s the twin strategy for the newly-formed Bembridge Library Users Association agreed at a packed meeting on Wednesday night at Bembridge Bowls Club organised by the Association’s steering committee.

According to chairman, Keith Fagan, the council is placing impossibly short and unrealistic timescales on the Association, expecting it to make decisions based on scant information.

Written assurances needed
He said, “Before committing ourselves, we need written assurances on a range of issues from the urgent need to renew the lease to employment legislation, from IT management to lending rights and volunteer training. We will not be in a position to start until the lease and employment issues can be resolved.

“There is no way in which we could implement measures to ensure the safe and legal running of such an operation by 1 July, let alone 1 April. A year would not be unreasonable.”

Moving library rejected
The Association agreed to work towards maintaining library services at the existing location subject to certain conditions and assurances from Isle of Wight Council. A proposal to support a suggestion to resite the library to the Steyne Park Community Centre was rejected.

Vice-chairman Peter Pickworth said that the library at the current site was at heart of the village and is vital to the survival of the Bembridge Heritage Centre, which shares some of the accommodation and has an agreement with the Council.

Said Peter: “We also agreed to support the island-wide campaign to mount a legal challenge through law firm Leigh Day against the IWC decision to close libraries on the grounds that it is lacking in its duty under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964. There are two potential courses of action here and we will be studying the merits of both.”

96% satisfaction of library users
Despite describing Bembridge as a failing library, IWC’s own figures reveal that in the financial year 2009/10, there were 45,604 recorded visits to the library, 37,215 issues and an adult satisfaction rating of 96 per cent.

Talks with Astrid Davies, manager for strategic partnerships at IWC, will take place next week. “We have a long list of questions which we hope Astrid can answer,” said Keith.

For queries about this release please contact Richard Beet on 875557 or email

For queries relating to the Bembridge Library Users Association, call the chairman, Keith Fagan on 874879 or email

Friday, 18th March, 2011 8:49am



Filed under: Bembridge, Budget Cuts, Isle of Wight News

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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28 Comments on "All Options Open In Rescue Plan For Bembridge Library"

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Pugh and Benyon are hell bent on closing libraries and are prepared to use every trick in the book to close them down even though they have a high satisfaction rate and are popular with local residents. The amount of money the council will save through these closures is paltry so I sometimes wonder whether it is more to do with Tory ideology and political trickery. Once… Read more »

does this comment apply to STEVE BEYNON in the iow council magazine one island …how has the council saved money.. THE COUNCIL IS ALSO EXPLORING WAYS OF SHARING SERVICES WITH OTHER AUTHORITIES TO FURTHER REDUCE STAFFING COSTS . how about sharing high paid staff starting with steve beynon and co.


Better still, just get rid of the arrogant little man. He has brought nothing good or positive to this island and has totally let the people down.

Looking at the article in CP today, the council have told us thaat £236,000 is what it would cost to keep the libraries as they are- yet they are going to spend £300,000 on a lift, £270,000 on office furniture, yet another £350,000 on IT and £137,000 on new audio visual aids in the council chamber. None of these have anything to do with the stated aim… Read more »

Dave. Rosie mentions having an investigation into the financial affairs of this council. Do you know anything about the National Audit Office and are they worth contacting? Would they be likely to respond to this type of request if it was put forward to them by members of the public?

Hi Asite2c, I will have time later today and will see what I can trawl up, this lot came into power with a £36million reserve, the largest part of which they have wasted on unfinished projects, consultants fees for hairbrained schemes and now tarting up their already very comfortable accomodation, I reckon there must be something we can do, my only negative thought is that as they’re… Read more »

Hi again, have looked at the National Audit Office, it appears they cannot investigate local authorities, only parliamentary matters!
Still looking for more info


dave you have to contact the chief internal auditor of independant reviews of the council


Hi again Asite2c,
Have located the email for the Audit Commission and have emailed them to say that we feel the council are misappropriating funds from front line sevice cuts just to enhance their own accomodation at County Hall. Have also included the loss of over £20million of the reserve they inherited when they came to power!

Thanks again Dave! I will be interested in what they have to say. If you get no luck then we will have to explore other ways because losing millions of council tax payers money is a serious issue, especially as they are asking us to pay it back through cuts to public services. If there is any evidence, I also wonder whether it could be a criminal… Read more »
£350,000 on IT? Today’s online computing magazine are trailing the google apps for government, which is apparently gaining interest with the UK government and at just £7 per user, it seems like the numbers stack up. Moreover, in australia – the victorian state govenment have been working with industry clusters developing open source platforms for their e-democracy programme since 2005. Saving millions and giving the victorian community… Read more »

as i keep saying this council needs to be investigated, the national audit office needs to know how they are mismanaging the council tax payers money , keep the good work up dave , we are in this together,


The police dressed in riot gear, armed with tazars, shields and trungeons should burst into County Hall and raid the Tory leaders offices.


Joking aside, if any evidence was found by an investigating body involving corruption or the misuse of public money by Tory Councillors and executives, surely this would be a criminal offence and would have to be investigated by the police?


If there are any moles out there that have evidence of corruption at County Hall, come forward and join the campaign against this useless Tory Council.

montana sliver

@Loopy, unlikely to happen as the police are the Tory Stasi same as they ever were, willing and eager to suppress any protest, just look at what happened to the students!


Totally agree! They even look like Stasi style police with all the gear they now wear.


Well the Stasi were plain clothes police in the former DDR. Our lot look more like the French CRS.

montana sliver
Asite2c- have done a little research and have sent an email to Eric Pickles, the Sec of State for Communities & Local Government. It reads:- Sir, there a great number of dissatified voters on the Isle of Wight. I hope that you are the right person to contact. When the conservatives took control of the IW Council they inherited a £36million reserve, which we now understand has… Read more »

Many thanks Dave! I hope you get a positive response although being a Tory Council, don’t be surprised if it just gets ignored by the dept. Governments and councils can shield themselves with a layer of steel making it extremely difficult to get to the truth.

Every avenue needs to be explored as it seems there are discrepancies and contradictions in their figures.


thanks dave for putting that together, hope you signed on behalf of majority of lsland residents.. we will keep working on this, were in this together as we say.

I have personally found that the Taxpayers’ Alliance website no end of amusement when it comes to scrutanizing the affairs of county hubris. For example, it will surprise no one to see that the Island Execs have made it on to the Town Hall Rich List 2011. Here are some renumeraration examples: 1) Mr Beynon £183937, up 3% from £178637. (as director of children’s service his salary… Read more »

And they have the gall and brass necks to tell us they are unable to fund public toilets and the library service. What a bunch of lying hypocrites.


By God Loopy Loo you are polite!

montana sliver

@playingthenumbers that list is even more obscene than the Carisbrooke cottage caper

Why are councils paying these kinds of salaries to executives when councillors could be doing the same type of work themselves? If the council have to employ people like Benyon to work out council business, then it just proves the leading councillors are incompetant and incapable of running local government. I can’t ever remember councils wasting money on these unelected decision makers years ago so why are… Read more »

How could I ever return with no library in the village; this is such an important and loved place!
I wish everyone involved the very best with their efforts and well done.