Library change is not in their gift
BRISTOL Central Library is a very important working library that serves the city and the region. It is recognised as such by central Government, many agencies and departments. It has received many and various awards - as a centre of excellence, for its collections and the dedication of its staff throughout periods of great change, in policy, technology, training and the skills offered.
The central library is an important listed building along with the internal fixtures and fittings. As such it is duly protected and any proposed changes would destroy this status. The city council has always seen a listed building as a financial liability. However, under The Libraries Act 1964 it has an allocated budget in recognition of this responsibility as custodians of a listed building.
The central library was a gift to the people of Bristol by Stukey Lean (a barrister) who when making his bequest/endowment/legacy would have placed some restrictive covenants on to the future of his gifts? Since then many companies, organisations and individuals have made donations to the library in anticipation that the library was safe custodian of donations.
It follows that Councillor Cook is in no position to make the current proposals to give some of its space to Bristol Cathedral School and it is not in the gift of the council to alter any part of a working library.
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Throughout the last 30-40 years, there have been many opportunities to expand the library onto adjacent sites but these have always been refused in favour of more lucrative development projects.
These include Deanery Road, Anchor Road and the 'Harbourside' development. We know of many proposals for inclusion in the Harbourside project but we do not recall any mention of urgent need by the cathedral school.
It is a sick joke for Neil Blundell to state that the cathedral (one of the oldest and wealthiest dioceses in the country) did not have sufficient finance to meet the city council's financial aspirations for the development sites during this extended period.
However, it is known that the school has always wanted the small area behind the library! This is a shoddy argument for dismantling the library and shows the school in a very bad light.
When Cllr Weston writes about the behaviour of George Ferguson and his style of administration he should remember that as a duly elected holder of public office he has certain rights and expectation to be heard in council meetings.
He also has obligation and duties to his electorate.
As a history graduate he will know about the history of the political franchise.
Under the protection of the Representation of the peoples Act and the Oaths of Allegiance Act 1847, councillors have certain rights and duties to fulfil to their electorate so Cllrs Weston and Morgan should remind Mr Ferguson of the legal restraints on his methods of administration. They are aware of the legal costs and consequences of judicial review - and failure on their part to remind Mr Ferguson of his duties might be interpreted as a dereliction of duty towards the electorate?
Failure to act could have greater consequences in that Bristol councillors could be replaced by administrators and accountants from London.
This prospect would be interesting! Perhaps it's time that the moral compass that has been lost be dusted down and brought back in to the Council Chamber for all to see?