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Labour councillors in South Gloucestershire are questioning whether the ruling Conservatives have been playing games by proposing a plan for the district’s libraries which they have now quickly ditched. The Tory Council recently consulted on a controversial plan to turn the majority of the district’s libraries into ‘satellites’ that would be open just 18 hours a week. This plan led to the formation of ‘save our library’ campaigns across the district, with users making their opposition clear.

Now, in a report going to a committee for decision next week, the council has effectively ripped up that plan and is instead recommending a brand new proposal which would see libraries open for much longer hours, although many of them would be unstaffed. The report claims that the ‘Open Plus’ model being proposed has been “successfully adopted” by several other councils.

Ian_Library.jpgCouncillor Ian Boulton, Labour’s spokesperson on library issues, has welcomed the change of heart but is questioning the Tories’ actions. Councillor Boulton says:

“The previous plan would have seen most of South Gloucestershire’s libraries reduced to a shadow of themselves so I obviously welcome it being dropped. We still have a lot of questions about this new ‘Open Plus’ proposal, especially in relation to staffing and security, and we will be pursuing those.

Over the last few months we have been working with campaigners in South Gloucestershire to highlight the disastrous Conservative proposals to cut our local library services. I suspect that the first question that most of the campaigners will be asking is: why did the council put us through all this anxiety when there was an alternative option available? ‘Open Plus’ has not been dreamt up in the past few weeks and it should have been the basis of the consultation.

I think it fair to question whether the Tories are in fact playing games by proposing something unpopular and then toning it down in an attempt to claim they have listened to the public. We have seen the same pattern with Kingswood Civic Centre, where an unpopular original proposal was subsequently modified.

Of course, South Gloucestershire would not have to pursue library cuts of this magnitude if Conservative councillors had backed Labour’s proposal to invest £460k into libraries rather than shave 50p a week off of the green bin subscription when we set the council’s budget in February.”

Libraries – are the Tories playing games?

Labour councillors in South Gloucestershire are questioning whether the ruling Conservatives have been playing games by proposing a plan for the district’s libraries which they have now quickly ditched. The...

Kingswood’s Labour councillors are promoting an event for current and potential businesses to increase trade and footfall in Kingswood town centre.

Kingswood_Town_Centre_new.jpgKingswood town centre serves 12,000 people in the central Kings Chase and Woodstock wards alone, with over 300 businesses employing around 4,000 people in and around the town centre and industrial sites. In recent years Kingswood’s retail vacancy rate has reduced but there are still opportunities for new investment.

The councillors have been working with South Gloucestershire Council’s economic development team to arrange and promote a meeting on the evening of Tuesday 6 September. Their aim is to support businesses to serve the local community and work together to improve overall footfall that will help the area to prosper.

The event will be at Boswells Café, Kings Chase Shopping Centre, Regent St, BS15 8LP. Coffee will be available from 5.30pm, with an open floor discussion at 6.00pm. The event will close by 7.30pm.

A free recruitment service will also be available.

The Labour councillors say:

“We want to encourage economic development in Kingswood. Our small businesses are critical to that success, and we will do all that we can to facilitate them working together so that they all benefit from an increase in trade and vitality in Kingswood town centre.”

For refreshment purposes, it would be helpful if attendees could advise the council beforehand at business@southglos.gov.uk

Councillors promote Kingswood business event

Kingswood’s Labour councillors are promoting an event for current and potential businesses to increase trade and footfall in Kingswood town centre.

Cock_Road.jpgThe Labour councillors for the Woodstock ward in Kingswood have written to First Bus to protest against the firm’s decision to axe the 17A route that runs through their ward and to ask the operator to reconsider its decision. The axe is due to fall on 4 September.

Councillors Andy Perkins, Gareth Manson and Pat Rooney (pictured) have pointed out that the 17 and 17A routes are relatively new, and that local people need some consistency with the public transport being offered.

In their letter to First Bus the councillors say:

“This withdrawal will particularly affect residents in the Courtney Road, Westons Way and Cock Road areas and will deprive them of direct access to key destinations including Kingswood and Keynsham shopping areas and Southmead and Cossham hospitals.

Woodstock ward has suffered from an inconsistency of bus route operation in recent years. The Wessex route 532 which traversed the ward was withdrawn, followed by their 533 route. First Bus’s 17 & 17A routes are relatively new creations and were meant to plug some of the service gap that our constituents have faced. Now the withdrawal of the 17A is being implemented very soon after its inception and this will worsen access to public transport.

We urge you to reconsider this cut and to provide some consistency in running the routes that you devise, and on which residents rely.”

Kingswood councillors urge bus cut reconsideration

The Labour councillors for the Woodstock ward in Kingswood have written to First Bus to protest against the firm’s decision to axe the 17A route that runs through their ward...

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