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Kate Hoey blasts ‘sham’ consultation on Waterloo Library closure

London SE1 website team

Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey has issued a stinging attack on plans by Lambeth's Labour council to shut Waterloo Library in Lower Marsh.

Kate Hoey blasts ‘sham’ consultation on Waterloo Library closure

Last week Lambeth Council published its final 'Culture 2020' proposals for libraries and parks in the borough.

Under the plans – due to be rubber-stamped at cabinet next week – Waterloo Library would close in its current form as a council-run service and be replaced by a 'neighbourhood library service' hosted temporarily at the Oasis Centre in Kennington Road.

However, there are question marks over the long-term funding for such a service and how it would integrate with other public libraries.

"There is no logic to Lambeth Council's decision to close the current Waterloo Library next March and move it to a site in the new Oasis building," Kate Hoey told the SE1 website.

"Their decision not to sell the building at this stage means there is no reason why it cannot stay where it is and work be done for example on creating a housing scheme developed above it which would help fund the library staying.

"This so-called consultation has been – as many thought it would be – a sham, as overwhelmingly the Waterloo community said they wanted a Lambeth funded library to continue.

"Waterloo is a hugely important part of the borough but is undervalued by the council leadership despite the area providing Lambeth Council with the highest level of business rates in the borough.

I will support the local councillors in opposing this ill-thought-through plan for Waterloo.

"Libraries should be one of the big priorities for a Labour council despite cuts and this is clearly not the case."

The outspoken Labour MP – who is never afraid to criticise her party colleagues running Lambeth Council – has also criticised the authority for advertising two jobs for 'senior communications officers' paid up to £39,000 each to promote regeneration in the borough, arguing that the money could be better spent maintaining a library in Waterloo.

Ms Hoey's intervention comes after the Bishop's ward Labour councillors also signalled that the council's ruling administration had 'big questions' to answer over the library plan.

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