Fear for future of Llanfyllin library despite five-year deal
The future of Llanfyllin library remains under threat despite a pledge by 10 community councils to pay half of its running costs for the next five years.
Hundreds went along to a drop-in session at the library recently to tell Powys County Council how much they valued the Llanfyllin service, which is used by people across north Montgomeryshire.
Half the costs of the library have been paid for by 10 community councils in the north of the county, and by Llanfyllin Town Council, since June.
Under the North Montgomeryshire Cluster Community Interest Company (CIC), they all signed an agreement with Powys County Council to pay 50 per cent of the Llanfyllin Library costs for five years.
At the time the Welsh government and Powys County Council praised the community councils for coming together in a CIC to help provide local services – the first time it had ever happened in Wales.
But now the county council says, due to continued budget pressures, it may still look at closing the service – which in turn has prompted the CIC to threaten legal action should the library close.
Emma Wilde-Hale, solicitor and director of the cluster, said: “The CIC signed a five-year legal agreement with the county council. Under that agreement any changes must be by mutual agreement and after consultation.
“It is unfortunate that the council has chosen not to consult with their partners in the CIC prior to this process being commenced.
“If necessary, we will take legal action to ensure the terms of the agreement are fulfilled.” The Mayor of Llanfyllin, Councillor Simon Baynes, said: “This meeting showed how much the library means to all of North Montgomeryshire, not just Llanfyllin, particularly young people.”
Councillor Rachel Powell, the county council’s cabinet member for young people and culture, said budget pressures had led to another review.
She added: “I am hopeful for ideas in keeping branches and mobile libraries functioning.”