Community consultation to take place on the future of library service in Neath Port Talbot
COMMUNITIES across Neath Port Talbot will have a chance to have their say about possible library service changes.
Neath Port Talbot Council is proposing to close nine libraries making a total saving of £238,143.
Yesterday, the council's cabinet scrutiny committee and cabinet moved the recommendation of the preferred option for consultation which considers the closure of Cwmllynfell, Gwaun-cae- Gurwen, Seven Sisters, Ystalyfera, Blaengwynfi, Briton Ferry, Taibach, Cymmer and Resolven Library.
Community groups and organisations, councillors and interested parties will now be asked to share their views during a consultation exercise.
Library staff and representatives from trade unions will also be consulted in the library service review process and bosses hope to minimise redundancies.
A final report, based upon the consultation, will then be drafted in December.
Deputy leader Peter Rees said the council was in "sad situation". He said: "We are not making these choices because we want to make these choices. It is because the present Government are forcing us into this situation. We have got to try and protect our services and protect jobs."
Neath North councillor Alan Lockyer asked about the Asset Plan from 2010 which looked at the condition and maintenance backlog costs.
In response, property and regeneration officer Simon Brennan, said for Taibach Library, the maintenance cost was around £350,000.
"We have spent around £50,000 or £60,000 just to keep it going," he said.
Briton Ferry councillor Hugh James, who spoke not as a member of the committee, said he wanted to stress that these proposals were not "done and dusted".
He said Briton Ferry Library is a historic building. "I believe we could have some facility there," he said. "I don't think it is going to be boarded up."
Neath East councillor Sheila Penry said: "It is a sad day, but there is nothing we can do about it."