Bromley’s Conservative Councillors have moved to dispel fears over changes to the borough’s libraries following a misinformation campaign by activists.
Some residents have been in touch with us recently about the proposals to ‘outsource’ Bromley’s libraries to a not-for-profit company.
The Council has confirmed that the proposed changes to the library service will not lead to a single library closing, or a single minute being taken off opening times. If the proposal is approved, the operator would need to run the same level of service or better.
The Council has spent a lot of time looking at the way it works in order to protect frontline services, bearing in mind the tough financial environment it’s facing. Over the next few years, Bromley has to find £24m of savings from a £192m budget. Doing nothing is not an option. It has long been recognised by councils of all political colours, that commissioning companies and charitable trusts to provide services brings value for money for the council tax payer and improved efficiency.
The proposal would keep all libraries open while reducing costs. The libraries would remain in council control, with professional librarians, but would be run by Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) – a not-for-profit organisation which was established by a Labour authority to run their library and leisure services. It is virtually identical model to the charitable trust which has successfully run the Borough’s leisure centres since 2004. Staff will be transferred under TUPE regulations protecting their terms and conditions and membership of the Council’s pension scheme.
The savings would be achieved through economies of scale; GLL operates more libraries than Bromley council, so it has greater buying power – for example when purchasing books and computers. It could also reduce back office costs through avoiding duplicate tasks. Public consultations have been supportive of the proposals. In a consultation of 1,837 people in 2014-15, 57% of respondents supported the option of the library service being run by a trust or charitable provider. This is exactly the proposal.
The council also continues to invest in libraries – with brand new ones opening in Penge, Orpington and Biggin Hill over recent years – and is looking to continue that trend, for example at Chislehurst library.
Though not in our ward, many Hayes & Coney Hall residents will be affected by road resurfacing works that Transport for London have announced for the Croydon Road (A232), Hastings Road (A21) and Farnborough Common (including the Fantail/Chapter One junction). The project is scheduled to start on Tuesday 7th March lasting until Thursday 13th April. Various closures and diversion will be in place, though the actual works will take place at nighttime between 9pm and 5am.
The timetable is as follows:
7-14 March 2017 – TfL will put in some temporary traffic lights, enabling traffic to continue to flow on the A21 Hastings Road From 21:00 each night until 05:00 the following morning
15-23 March and 3-6 April – The A232 Croydon Road will be closed between the junctions with the A21 Farnborough Common and Oakley Road. Please follow the signed diversion
26 March – 2 April and 9-13 April – The A232 Croydon Road will be closed between the junctions with Hollydale Drive and the A21 Farnborough Common – The A232 Crofton Road will be closed between the junctions with Farnborough Common and Elm Walk. Please follow the signed diversions.
BT are consulting on the proposed removal of a number of telephone boxes around the borough, including in Hayes and Coney Hall.
Boxes where very few calls have been made are being earmarked for removal. In our ward these are:
- Junction of Hayes Lane and Mead Way (19 calls in the last year)
- Junction of Mounthurst Road and Bourne Vale (12 calls)
- Outside the the Day Lewis pharmacy at 3 Station Approach (25 calls)
- Outside the Co-Op in Croydon Road, Coney Hall (4 calls)
Any comments should be sent via the council planning department who have been asked to respond to BT by 4th December at the latest.
The mobile ‘phone mast proposed for the green at the junction of Birch Tree Avenue and Queensway was turned down by a council planning committee last night.
The committee heard representations from both residents’ associations and Cllr. Graham Arthur, who cited the quality of consultation, lack of explanation as to why alternative sites had been ruled out, and the potential harm to the openness of the green caused by the equipment cabinet. The committee then agreed unanimously to reject the bid by Vodafone and Telefonica (O2).
Pre-empting accusations of ‘Nimbyism’, Cllr. Arthur had pointed out that an application for another, more appropriate, site in the ward had recently been approved without opposition from local councillors.
The refusal comes after last year’s plans to erect a taller mast on another green, at the junction of Kingsway and Gates Green Road, were turned down on similar grounds.
We know that around Christmas the paper recycling banks get very full (and then some). So, what is the council doing about it, and how can you help?
Firstly the contractor, Veolia, will be emptying as many of the banks this week as possible to try and make as much space available as they can ahead of the big day(s).
However, this year we are anticipating particular issues with Christmas Day and Boxing Day falling on a Friday and Saturday, thus delaying by another day the work to empty the bins.
Veolia will be back out again on Monday and Tuesday (28th/29th) to catch up. However, we are asking residents, where possible (we do understand some will have more space at home than others), to hold off taking used wrapping paper and packaging to the paper banks until after Tuesday 29th.
Not only will this help keep the appearance of the sites tidier, it will also improve the borough’s recycling rates, since anything left outside the recycling bins goes to landfill (because it is not practical or cost-effective to sort through random bags and boxes left in this way).
More generally, the council has also been looking closely at the various sites and collection routes, taking in account the amount of paper, cardboard and other material that gets left there at this and other times of year.
Finally, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Bromley Council is seeking residents’ feedback and comment as part of the 2016-17 budget setting process. This builds on the approach taken last year and will include an online survey as well as sessions with representatives from residents’ associations and a public meeting. The aim is to seek views on the main themes of ‘Building a Better Bromley’ and the future shape and direction of the Council, taking into consideration the resources to deliver these, given significant budget reductions.
The council wants to encourage as many people as possible who live in the borough to take part in the online survey and to attend the public meeting. The online survey and background information is available at: www.bromley.gov.uk/budgetviews
South Eastern have released details of the seasonal timetable for the Christmas and New Year period.
These times will cover changes to services resutling from the ongoing works at London Bridge.
Changes to weekend services over the next few months are also available.
Major road works are to take place along the Bromley end of Hayes Lane over the summer holiday period, as a gas main is replaced.
Southern Gas Networks (SGN) have agreed with the council for the works to be completed during the six week school holiday period when the roads are noticeably more quieter. The works are located between Masons Hill (The A21) and Hayes Road, Bromley and the first part of the project – lasting some two to three weeks – will see the works being managed under a ‘half road closure’.
This means that, during this first phase, traffic heading north towards the A21 will be unaffected, while traffic that would usually turn into Hayes Lane from the A21 (towards Hayes)* will have to follow the available diversion routes. There will be two diversions in place depending on which direction you are travelling from:
Diversion One (from the south-east): A21, Oakley Road, Croydon Road, Baston Road, Hayes Street, then arriving at Hayes Lane.
Diversion Two (from the north/north-west): A21, Masons Hill, Westmoreland Road, Hayes Road, then arriving at Hayes Lane
SGN are proposing to start works on Monday 03/08/2015. The council has authorised them to work extended hours (07:00-19:00) and also Saturdays to allow them to complete the works as quickly as possible. Once the road is re-opened (after the half road closure), there will be temporary traffic lights in place until the project is complete. The council has made it clear to SGN that they will not be allowed any extensions and that works must be complete before the start of September when the schools go back.
* Following engineering difficulties, the one-way working was replaced by a full closure of this stretch of Hayes Lane on 11/8/15, however, the original one-way working arragnement has now been restored.
Further updates will be posted to our Facebook page.
The ‘black box’ paper recycling collection service is changing to a fortnightly collection schedule from the end of this month (June).
In the next week or so, residents will receive letters from the Council notifying them of changes to their paper collection schedule. From Monday 29 June onwards, paper will then be collected every other week instead of weekly as it is currently. New collection calendars (also available on the Council website) are also being sent out.
A very small number of households will also see their collection days changed, but they will be notified of this seperately by post.
The changes will save half a million pounds per year, but are also being driven by the substantially reduced amount of paper being collected these days, compared to when the service was introduced around fifteen years ago.