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Proposals To Reorganise South Leicester Services Go To Scrutiny

library

Proposals To Reorganise Neighbourhood Services Go To Scrutiny

Proposals to reorganise neighbourhood services in the south of the city are set to be looked at under the council’s scrutiny process.

The plans – which cover the wards of Freemen, Aylestone, Knighton and Eyres Monsell – have been developed after extensive consultation with members of the public and community groups.

They include refurbishing the Southfields (‘Pork Pie’) library to include new community and learning facilities, and providing disabled parking spaces.

New facilities will include a kitchenette, more computers and a key fob access system, so that groups can get out-of-hours access to the building.

The library, adult learning and community services will then all operate from the building.

The Linwood Centre, in Linwood Lane, will see its workshop units extended, giving more businesses the chance to move in, potentially bringing up to 40 jobs to the area.

A pre-school will still operate from site, while community and learning services will be moved to the improved Pork Pie Library.

A new self-service library will be installed at Eyres Monsell Community Centre, while Gilmorton Community Centre will remain available for use by local people via a key-fob access scheme. Work will be done to monitor how often the building is used by community groups.

Services currently provided at Southfields Drive Community Centre will be relocated to the improved Pork Pie Library. The community centre will then be demolished with a view to releasing some land for housing development.

No changes will currently be made to Saffron Resource Centre and Saffron Customer Service Centre.

The former Aylestone Library building, in Richmond Road, will be made available for suitably qualified community groups to express an interest in taking on, to offer activities for local people. If not, the building will be offered on the open market.

Councillor Sarah Russell, assistant city mayor responsible for neighbourhood services, said: “We’ve tried lots of different ways to involve local residents while we have been planning these changes. What we’ve found is that people really value their neighbourhood services and want to see them continue.

“Government cuts mean we can’t carry on running neighbourhood services as we do now. But by making better use of our buildings, we’ll be able to make savings while protecting important services.

‘We’ve listened to local residents throughout this process and, while we’re not able to take every idea on board, residents have helped us to shape these final plans.

“We will be moving on to looking at another area soon, and as we move around the city I hope people will engage with the process and tell us about the services they value.”

The changes will make a saving of around £106,000 in the area, reducing building running costs by 30 per cent while preserving services by relocating some of them.

The proposals will now go to the council’s neighbourhood services scrutiny committee on March 13th for further comments, before a final decision is made by the council.

Detailed plans will then be drawn up for the improvements to Southfields Library, with more services likely to relocate to the building by January 2015.