Protests outside Wimbledon library as rumours circulate it could be closed

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POPULAR: The library is well used

By SWLondoner staff

Rumours that Wimbledon Library could be under threat led to spontaneous protests by residents yesterday afternoon.

Around 30 to 40 residents were joined by councillors after a full council meeting earlier this month debated a document saying that the whole Wimbledon Library site may be redeveloped with a mix of retail, residential and office buildings.

Councillor Samantha George, the Conservatives’ Library and Culture Spokesman, said  that the sudden response proved just how precious Wimbledon Library is to the community.

“Residents have set up a website and a petition to campaign against these plans,” she said.

“This is the most used library in the whole of the borough, with some 6,000 residents using it a week. I hope all of those residents will sign the petition and insist that we want to safeguard the library’s future – keeping it on its current site.”

However, Merton Council cabinet member for community and culture, Nick Draper, said that the claims were completely unfounded.

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“There is absolutely no truth in the bizarre rumour that Wimbledon Library could close, or change its use as it stands today,” he said.

“In fact, the opposite is true. We are fully committed to Wimbledon Library and will be investing in it and improving it over the next year.”

The council emphasised that it is one of the few in London who have kept all their libraries open and even extended the opening hours.

The Council’s Sites and Policies Plan, a document that lists those which are earmarked for development in the future, says the whole library may be developed, although doing so must be in keeping with its status as a listed building.

At the full council meeting, the Conservatives put forward an amendment to the plans as they want to see it continue on its current site and remain its current size, with its entrance remaining on Wimbledon Hill Road.

Photo courtesy of mag3737, with thanks.

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