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Waterloo Library could be sold by Christmas, says Lambeth Council

The future of Waterloo Library in Lower Marsh will be decided before Christmas, Lambeth's cabinet member for culture told a town hall committee on Monday night.

Cllr Sally Prentice was answering questions from Lambeth's environment and community safety scrutiny sub-committee on Monday night as the borough's cabinet prepares to consider a report on the future of the library service.

"I am certainly aiming by Christmas to have made decisions on the Waterloo Library and the Streatham Library, but in the ethos of the cooperative council, it is about working with communities and having them support us, not about imposing solutions," said Cllr Prentice.

Adrian Smith, the council's director of culture and communities, told the cross-party scrutiny committee: "We know that the current building doesn't offer the modern, fit-for-purpose, flexible space the community in and around Waterloo needs and deserves, so we want to look at some options as to how we might relocate or re-use that space."

The report to be considered by the borough's Labour cabinet on Monday night includes a recommendation that officers carry out an options appraisal of the Waterloo Library site "prior to determining the best site for library service in Waterloo, with a view to disposing of the current site, as set out in a previous report to cabinet".

The document includes a commitment that "the local community will be consulted on the different options" before a new report is brought to cabinet in September.

The council says that it has already received expressions of interest in the Lower Marsh site from private developers, the public sector and non-profit organisations.

The authority has already promised that the library service in Waterloo will be maintained, with new locations including Waterloo Action Centre still under consideration.

However, Waterloo Library faces a cut in its budget from 150,000 this year to just 123,000 in 2013/14.

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