Denton Community Group praised following Library takeover

September 30th, 2013

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A Denton community group has been praised by the government after it took over its local library.

The Friends of Denton West End Library in Greater Manchester was formed in August 2012 after Tameside Council earmarked the building for closure.

The library was shut down two months later as part of the council’s budget cuts but the Friends group formed a charity and, on 28 June 2013, bought the building from the council after registering it as an asset of community value.

The Denton West End Community Library charity now administers and runs the building, at an estimated weekly cost of £300. The group intends to raise money for its upkeep through fundraising and hiring out the venue.

 David Booton, a trustee of Denton West End Community Library, said:

“We want the facilities we provide at the library to be as wide ranging as possible so we’ve got a good chance of raising the money we need to keep the library operating. That could include hiring it out for fitness groups or for local schools to use, as well as for community meetings.

“I’d definitely encourage other groups to apply for buildings to become assets of community value as it really helped us gain the extra time we needed to be able to put in a bid for the library.

“It stops councils from being able to sell buildings in the quickest time possible to the highest bidder. They have to consider other proposals and wait at least six months before they can do anything.

“Even if you can’t see a way forward, those extra few months buy you time and you never know what might happen.”

 Communities Minister Don Foster added:

“The Localism Act has given communities unprecedented powers over their lives, neighbourhoods, towns and cities. A year ago we said we were starting a quiet revolution, giving powers to local people to decide how to run things in their community rather than by the top-down Whitehall diktats of the past.

“A year later these powers are well and truly kicking in, with hundreds of communities across the country taking on local planning issues, providing their own services and protecting treasured local assets.”

A quick and simple guide to all community rights introduced in the Localism Act is available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/youve-got-the-power-a-quick-and-simple-guide-to-community-rights.

It includes details of all of the rights including the Community Right to Bid, Neighbourhood Planning, Community Right to Build, Community Shares and the Community Right to Challenge.

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