As the book closes on one library saga at Bromley borough, another has opened – with the latest chapter on Chislehurst Library set to be written next week.
Fresh off plans to relocate and redevelop new housing at Beckenham Library being shelved, a special meeting has been convened to discuss approved plans to sell off Chislehurst Library so it can be replaced with a new library facility and medical centre.
Members of the renewal, recreation and housing policy development and scrutiny committee have been called to a virtual meeting at 8.30am on Tuesday, October 6, after the council’s Labour minority called the decision in.
In their reasons for initiating a call-in, Labour cited “inadequate evidence” that the sale represents “the best possible return” for the council, querying why the highest bid for the sale was bypassed with a bid by Prime PLC instead accepted by the council.
The deadline for public questions on the issue was set for 5pm Thursday, giving members of the public just over 48 hours to have their say on the proposal.
“The process council has undertaken isn’t transparent and questionable,” Bromley Labour leader Angela Wilkins said after she and her fellow councillors called the decision in.
“There are some very serious questions to be answered which we’ll be asking.”
Chislehurst ward member Suraj Sharma subsequently accused Labour councillors of playing “political football” with the issue.
“It is unfortunate that the Labour group from the other side of the borough have sought to play political football with the redevelopment of the Library which is otherwise such a positive news story for Chislehurst and its residents,” he said.
“Labour members were privy to all confidential bid information and were present at both the Renewal, Recreation and Housing and the Executive and Resources Committees where they were able to fully interrogate and scrutinise the details but sadly chose not to.”
Few details have been published publicly on the plans for the building but executive member for renewal, recreation and housing Peter Morgan said more would be revealed as the project moves through the planning process.
Prime has previously said in a statement seen by the local democracy reporting service they would work with nearby medical practices the Chislehurst Medical Centre and The Woodlands Practice to revamp the historic building.
This meeting can be viewed by members of the public, with the live streaming
accessed by visiting www.bromley.gov.uk/councilmeetingslive.
Live streaming will commence shortly before the meeting starts at 8.30 am.