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Controversial plans to move Woodford Green library ‘on the back burner’ after opposition

18:06 20 August 2014

Woodford Green Library

Woodford Green Library

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Controversial plans to move Woodford Green Library have been “put on the back burner” after opposition from residents.

Wes Streeting, deputy leader of the Redbridge Labour Group and cabinet member for health wellbeingWes Streeting, deputy leader of the Redbridge Labour Group and cabinet member for health wellbeing

Vision Redbridge had proposed moving it to the Sir James Hawkey Hall from Snakes Lane and selling the run-down building. But residents staunchly opposed the cost-cutting proposal.

Cllr Wes Streeting, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said the library would be staying put for now after he axed the plan.

“I can’t guarantee the library won’t go there, but it’s definitely on the back burner,” he said.

Cllr Streeting, who is also the deputy leader of the council, said the library’s future would now be considered as part of a “much wider review” of the leisure and cultural strategy.

And he said a full public consultation would be held once the strategy had been drawn up.

“If we weren’t interested in listening we would have bulldozed the Woodford Library proposal through and it would just be happening,” added Cllr Streeting.

Monkhams ward councillor Jim O’Shea welcomed the news: “The residents were up in arms about it.

“This is due to an awful lot of pressure and Mr Streeting has at least listened.”

Cllr O’Shea said if the site is sold off for homes, he wants to see a new library built as part of any development.

“The building itself is not in good shape so this would have to be done at some stage,” he said.

“It’s a prime development site.”

Chairman of the Woodford Green Amenity Group, Geoff Stimpson, said he was “very pleased” with the news, and said the library brought “a bit of character” to the area.

“It’s been a bone of contention for some time,” he said.

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