Fears over Hucknall Library's future again raised at county council

The future of Hucknall Library has again been called into question by the leader of Ashfield District Council.

Thursday, 12th May 2022, 1:52 pm

Coun Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), was speaking at a full council meeting on May 12 of Nottinghamshire County Council, where he leads the Independent Alliance, and said he had ‘concrete evidence’ discussions had taken place about relocating Hucknall library services from their current town centre location to the proposed new Cavell health centre for the town.

This is a new development for the ongoing concerns about the library after previous reports suggested the county council wanted to move it to the new flagship offices at Top Wighay Farm in Linby when they are built.

However, the council stressed earlier this year, there were ‘no plans’ to close the library or relocate it to Top Wighay Farm.

Coun Jason Zadrozny (top) said he had 'concrete evidence' discussions had taken place to move Hucknall Library services to the planned new health centre for the town

Directing his question to Coun John Cottee (Con), chairman of the council’s communities committee, Coun Zadrozny went on to say that Coun Cottee’s colleague Coun Keith Girling (Con) knew these discussions had taken place and the minutes of the Cavell Health Centre board’s meeting proved it.

Back in March, Coun Girling and the Independents clashed over this issue with Coun Girling allegedly accusing the Independents of telling lies.

Back then, Coun Cottee said there had ‘never been any plans to relocate Hucknall Library’ and he reiterated this again.

He said: "This administration will protect and maintain Nottinghamshire’s range of libraries.

"In all cases, these libraries will remain in their current buildings but of course we are happy to explore, with any potential partners, co-location or relocation of services if this can provide a more cost-effective or customer-friendly way of delivering our already excellent services.

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But Coun Zadrozny said: “I have concrete evidence that discussions have been taking place with this council and health bosses going as far back as November 2021, to move library services into the new Cavell health centre proposed for Hucknall.

"The minutes of the Cavell Health Centre board meeting clearly state this.

“Coun Girling has known this all along – the minutes say he does.

"Yet on March 22, Coun Girling dragged you (Coun Cottee) on a tour of Hucknall Library, Kirkby Library and Sutton Library to mislead library staff and users that there were no plans to relocate library services.

"In the light of this information, Coun Cottee, will you revisit your statement to this chamber and initiate some kind of investigation – because I think your impeccable reputation has misled by one of your colleagues – and look at giving us some concrete answers about what is happening to the future of library services in Hucknall.”

Coun Zadrozny added that he accepted Coun Cottee did not have all the information available to him and offered to discuss it further with him after the meeting.

Replying, Coun Cottee said: “No, I don’t have all the information on some discussions that take place because they have to be private and confidential.

"I don’t have that information, I don’t know about that meeting but I will look into it.

"I’ve no doubt there may be a very good reason why I haven’t been told about it but I have the greatest trust in Coun Girling and it wasn’t his suggestion to go to those libraries and talk to them it was mine.

"I always think we should be really honest with our staff and I think we do that, but I will look into this.”

Speaking after the meeting, Coun John Wilmott (Ash Ind), who represents Hucknall North on both the district and county councils, said: “Over the last few months, I have been the victim of allegations of misleading residents.

"Now it turns out I was right all along - the county is in discussion with health bosses to relocate library services in Hucknall.

"We will oppose these plans with all our strength.

"Any reduction or relocation of library services will be a disaster for our town.”