Welshpool library future sparks war of words between councils

Welshpool Library - photo by John Firth Image copyright John Firth
Image caption Powys council wants to relocate other staff to the present Welshpool library building

A war of words has broken out between two councils over the future of a town's library.

Powys County Council wants to move Welshpool library into Powysland Museum, with consultation on the idea ending on Sunday.

It wants to use the library building to house staff currently based at Neuadd Maldwyn, which would then be sold off.

Welshpool Town Council accused Powys of having already made its decision, and called for a rethink.

Phyl Davies, Powys cabinet member responsible for property, said the county council had been talking to partner organisations about co-locating or transferring responsibility for services to make the most efficient use of buildings, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

However, he added: "We have to be confident that plans meet appropriate service delivery standards and that any staffing changes have been carefully considered to ensure they meet employment legislation.

"Unfortunately, despite informing Welshpool Town Council of our review many months ago, alternative plans have only just been submitted.

"Regrettably they do not provide us with the confidence that they are deliverable and will protect the county council's assets in the town and staff employment rights."

Welshpool town clerk Robert Robinson claimed the Powys proposal was a "done deal", and insisted a town council plan to keep the library and the museum in separate buildings would save money.

He said the two councils would be meeting again shortly with "a view to taking forward a scheme which is good for Welshpool, good for protecting services, and good for Powys".

In recent years, Welshpool Town Council has taken over public toilets, playgrounds, a day centre, meals on wheels, a tourist information centre and street cleaning.

That has resulted in an increase in the town council's element of council tax bills - which is an extra £26 this year.

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