Monday, 15 November 2010

Heathfield Library - Cllr Gareth Elliott's letter to the RT&T

Dear Sir,

While I bemoan the need to close any library the current furore being generated by the Liberal Party about Heathfield Library has left me baffled. After all it must be pointed out that the decision to demolish the library and replace it with a poly-clinic was actually taken by the previous Liberal administration and not the Conservatives.

The situation now is that we must look forward and decide how best to maintain library provision, particularly for the children at Heathfield School. While the Liberals are very good at organising a photo shoot they seem strangely unwilling to help out in terms of looking at alternative options, something I have already discussed with Cllr Pamela Fleming who, in the spirit of coalition, has invited Heathfield, Whitton and West Twickenham ward councillors to a meeting next week and I hope they will approach this in a positive way so we can consider the best possible options for our residents.

Library services must remain accessible and in pondering this question i see the potential of redeveloping Whitton high street and Whitton library for the benefit of both Heathfield and Whitton residents as a huge opportunity. Whitton library was the only major library not to be updated by the previous Liberal administration and it now appears opportune to turn the closure of Heathfield library into a positive. Whitton library sits at the heart of the town centre of both wards. With the recently announced £230,000 improvements to the High Street and the purchase by Lidl of the old derelict Co-Op site it would be sensible to integrate improved library provision. Accessibility is also likely to be vastly improved with the potential diversion of the 110 bus route to the top of the high street directly linking Heathfield residents with their main shopping centre.

Whitton Library is already used by a significant number of Heathfield residents and if we improve facilities I am sure more people will be attracted to use the library services. After all, as the nearest major shopping centre people from Heathfield are already travelling to the High Street to shop and relax. Better library services as well whilst they are there is a potential win-win for all.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Gareth Elliott