Lingfield community group calls for formal meeting with Surrey over library
A CAMPAIGN group has renewed its calls for a library to be handed over to the community in a wrangle which has lasted 18 months.
At a Lingfield Parish Council meeting last Monday, councillors said the issue surrounding Lingfield Library had been dragging on for too long and they wanted a formal meeting with Surrey County Council to discuss a handover.
The Guest House Enabling Committee, made up of community members, wants to take over the library's trust status – but says the county council appears unwilling to let go because of the financial benefits. But the council insisted this week it has tried to arrange a meeting.
Committee chairman Rita Russell told the Mirror: "We need some definitive answers in print from the council so we can take over the trust and work with the council on how to run the library."
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The library in the Guest House, Vicarage Road, was left in trust by Arthur Hayward in 1954 to the county council, to be used as a library.
The committee says it can run the library without the council because the site can raise money through rent from accommodation, so is self-financing.
Parish councillor John Cole said: "The county council has preferred contractors to provide maintenance who are obviously more expensive but then on top of the costs the trust also has to pay a 20 per cent admin charge."
The Charity Commission previously said the county had every right to keep control of the trust as it was left to them but this week said otherwise.
A spokesman told the Mirror the commission was unclear as to what precisely the county council's role within the trust was, and suggested the council's solicitor referred back to the original will that granted the trust status.
Earlier this month, a High Court ruled Surrey County Council's plan to make 10 libraries, including Lingfield, volunteer-run were unlawful.
The committee welcomed the news as it wants to retain paid staff rather than have the library run by volunteers.