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Meeting to be held tonight over proposals to move Aberaeron library

Aberaeron library (Pic: Google)

A PUBLIC meeting is to be held tonight, July 5, following “anger and disbelief” at a “nonsensical” proposal to move Aberaeron’s library to county hall, Penmorfa.

Ceredigion County Council is currently consulting on the proposed move of the library from the centre of town, along with similar proposals in Lampeter.

The Aberaeron consultation, which runs up to July 9, says: “Following the implementation of the hybrid working scheme that is available to council staff, the County Hall building is now solely occupied by the two services referred to above.  Due to the rise in costs to occupy and maintain buildings, the council must consider more affordable ways to continue the delivery of these essential services.  The existing Aberaeron library is based in a section of an old and inefficient building. All other council services have been relocated to other buildings and the cost to run and maintain the building cannot be met by the library service alone.

“In addition, the council is facing significant budget challenges. As part of the budget setting arrangements that were agreed by council on February 29, it was agreed that a library provision would be retained in each of the four current towns and that the provisions would be co-located with other council services wherever possible.

“The council is therefore considering whether to remain with the status quo, resulting in additional increasing running costs, or our favoured position which would be to re-locate the library and the face-to-face customer service provision to the ground floor of the council offices at Penmorfa, which is located on the southern side of the town.”

It says the proposal, if agreed, would offer an improved library and customer service along with access to the new Penmorfa Centre for Independent Living, and would also provide a larger space for a children’s book collection along with additional space to support workers and learners including a dedicated work room.

It also says the proposal “would modernise library provision with the inclusion of a Maker Space,” with the “potential opportunity to secure capital investment in a new improved and enlarged facility of at least £250,000”.

An image of the potential new library facilities at Penmorfa, Aberaeron (Pic: Ceredigion County Council)

However, local county councillor Cllr Elizabeth Evans has previously said there is “anger and disbelief” at the proposed move.

“The town’s residents and businesses, including those who live in the wider community, are wholeheartedly united in their opposition to this proposal. Residents are telling me that to move the library and council help desk from its town centre location up to Penmorfa is nonsensical.

“Businesses are telling me that footfall will dramatically fall. To that end, so many people have already filled in the consultation paper online and the hard copy is available at the town library. Yet I would urge residents to continue to do so. The anger and disbelief in the community cannot be underestimated.

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“Cyngor Tref Aberaeron Town Council will be holding a public meeting at Neuadd Goffa Aberaeron Memorial Hall on Friday, July 5 at 7pm. This will give the town council the opportunity to listen to what residents have to say about the proposals, which will enable the council to formulate their own response to the consultation.”