A DECISION on whether to close five libraries will be postponed for up to two months, it has been announced.
Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock was supposed to announce on Wednesday whether or not he supported closures of facilities in Crofton Park, Sydenham, New Cross, Grove Park, and Blackheath long with millions of pounds worth of other cuts.
But Sir Steve, who needs to find around £60m in savings over three years, said that after studying consultation results at Lewisham Council’s Public Accounts Committee this week, he could not make a decision.
He said: “I did not seek election as your mayor in order to close down libraries.
“However the scale of the challenge and size of the cuts we are faced with due to decisions taken by this Tory/Lib Dem government means that we are faced with very difficult choices in order to protect the most vulnerable in our community.
“I believe in libraries and the difference they can make which is why over £6.5m has been spent in the last four years in providing 21st century library facilities across Lewisham.
“The current proposals do not provide enough detail on the alternative community library proposals and on the transitional costs of moving to these alternatives.
“I am therefore minded next week to defer a decision on this proposal for up to two months to provide time for those proposals to be firmed up and to allow those who want to be involved to come forward and have further discussions with the council.”
Lewisham Council’s cuts package will be discussed at a Mayor and Cabinet meeting next week. The meetings decisions will be subject to approval by full council early next year.