Library Enterprise Centre: next stop Council

To:
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive, Cambridgeshire County Council
Quentin Baker, Chief Legal Officer, Cambridgeshire County Council

I wish to request a review of the decision on the Enterprise Centre taken at
Highways & Community Infrastructure Committee on 2nd June, and would like it to
be debated at Full Council, or at GPC, should the quorum of members requesting a
review be lower than 24.

  • Members did not have enough information to make an informed decision:
  • Alternative options to the KORA proposal were not properly researched.
  • Financial projections for KORA had no evidence to support them.

Amanda Taylor

Controversy still rages over the Tory proposals to let out Cambridge Library to a private firm. Proposals were first put to councillors  on the Highways & Community Infrastructure committee in March to allow private firm Kora to take over most of the third floor of Cambridge Library to create an Enterprise Centre. I voted against, but Tory and UKIP councillors banded together to vote the proposal through.

I led a call-in of the decision, leading to the decision being revoked and the Highways committee being asked to reconsider, following consultation and extra information.

So we debated it again this week.

Frustratingly, Tory councillors and the UKIP vice-chair once again banded together to drive through the proposals, despite woefully sketchy information on alternative options and the Kora business plan and financial projections being extremely dubious. With a great deal of work by a campaign group formed from the 38 Degrees petition to save the library, we had hoped to carry the day, but in the end, the vote went in favour of the Kora proposals 7-6.

Colleagues and I have now asked for the Full Council to review this decision, as we not only deplore the impact on the rest of the library operation, but we question the credibility of the financial case that is the raison d’être of this ill thought out proposal. And if it doesn’t make money, why compromise the library service?

We need to get 24 councillors to request a review. If we pass that hurdle, the next one is to get a majority vote at Council to change the recommendation. That will need a simple majority of the county councillors present to vote for a change – 35 out of 69 if everyone attends. A simple majority — but not at all simple to achieve.

We will need some minds to change. Perhaps you can help us by talking to your friends who live outside Cambridge, and ask them to talk to their county councillors?

For background on the proposals, we have produced some FAQs. Please see http://amandataylor.focusteam.org/2015/04/29/cambridge-library-and-the-tory-enterprise-centre-faq/#page-content