Residents in North Somerset have the chance to help shape the future of library and children’s centre services across the district.
North Somerset Council is launching a 12-week engagement and consultation period to get the public’s views on the Community Access Review.
The consultation started on Friday 8 July and run through until Friday 30 September. People will be able to have their say online, in writing or at a series of public meetings.
The Community Access Review is a major review of the buildings and services run by the council in the community with particular focus on its 14 children’s centres and 12 libraries.
The aim of the review is to make sure these buildings and services are fit for purpose and in the right place, are cost-effective and equipped to deal with the demands of new technology and are able to meet the current and future needs of residents.
The review is being implemented in phases. The first phase includes Yatton, Congresbury, Winscombe, Worle, Long Ashton, Pill and Weston South (Bournville and Oldmixon).
Residents will now be asked what they think of the proposals, what impact different options would have on their use of the services, when they would like to access the services and whether they have any other ideas.
They can give their feedback in a number of ways:
- by completing an online survey at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/car where there is more information about the review and the options for each locality
- by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- in writing to Community Access Review, Post Point 16, Town Hall, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ
- at their local library or children’s centre
- via social media
- by attending a public meeting – two meetings will be held in each of the seven localities during September (details of these meetings will be published soon).
The council is also writing to key community and voluntary groups in the area with details of the review and how they can have their say.
Cllr Felicity Baker, the council’s executive member for libraries, emphasised that no decisions have been made at this stage and urged people to get involved in the consultation and make their views known.
She said: “If we are to continue to provide good quality services in our communities at a price we can afford, we need to be delivering those services in a different way, such as co-locating libraries and children’s centres where it is feasible to do so.
“A number of options have been identified, but further options may emerge as part of the consultation process. I welcome residents coming forward with ideas to help ensure the future of these highly valued services.”
A report on the feedback from the consultation will go to the council’s Executive in December for a final decision on how to proceed, with any changes implemented from April to July 2017.
The second phase of the review will focus on three other more “complex” localities – Nailsea, Clevedon and Weston Central – where more time is required to develop the options. Consultation will take place next year on the proposals for these areas with changes implemented by April 2018.