Peacehaven MP joins campaigners as East Sussex County Council plans to move library
Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP has blasted the county council's plans to relocate Peacehaven Library
Plans to relocate the library were given the go ahead by council planners yesterday, despite fierce local opposition.
The MP for Brighton, Kemptown and Peacehaven joined campaigners on the picket line outside East Sussex County Council Hall in Lewes yesterday (December 15)
Mr Russell-Moyle said: "I am extremely disappointed by the decision. The only member who bothered to visit was Cllr Denis. He’s seen it, he knows.
"The truth is this decision contributes towards a continued downward spiral of the Meridian Centre. The council does not have the people of this county at its heart.
"It appears libraries in the east, such as Rye - a small village - can open for the longest hours in the county, and why is that? It’s because the officers and members who represent it live in the east of East Sussex. They just have self-interest at heart. People [in Peacehaven] have been let down.”
East Sussex County Council’s planning committee approved the proposals which will allow the facility to move out of its current home in the Meridian Centre and into The Joff, a nearby youth centre.
Campaigners say it is putting their library in a 'cupboard'.
East Saltdean resident Laurence O’Connor attended the meeting and believes much of the evidence submitted by objectors was deliberately excluded from the debate.
Mr O’Connor spoke as a local resident, not in his capacity as a Lewes District Council member for the Labour Party.
He felt that many of the views expressed were deemed ‘inadmissible’ as acceptable planning considerations.
Among those were issues concerning the size of the premises, just 39 square metres and three metres wide, of which a substantial amount is taken up by lavatories.
Mr O'Connor said: "The library itself and all its books, would be squeezed into a space which makes not fit for the purpose of serving 23,000 local residents, rising by 287 a year. Once again these concerns were not considered a material fact."
He quotes a 15-year-old student from Peacehaven Community College and a member of the Youth Parliament who said young people at the college made extensive use of the existing library and use the facilities together.
He added: “It is important for youth - not just the under-fives who go along with parents - and for the rest of us, it is a vital space.”