County poised to green-light Ore library reopening plan

It’s all looking good for the reopening of Ore library.

Papers made public this morning by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) show that officials are recommending approval of a plan to lease the Ore Library building to the Ore Community Library Group (OCLG).

When he considers his decision next Monday, Councillor Nick Bennett ESCC’s lead member for resources is expected to approve the granting of, “a full repairing and insuring lease to Ore Community Library Group (OCLG) on a peppercorn rent for a three year period, in order to operate a Community Library…”.

Former borough councillor in Ore Richard Street told the community this morning: “Congratulations you wonderful people… The proposal for Ore Community Library is recommended for approval.”

Councillor Heather Bishop who has been at the forefront of the campaign to secure the future of the library said: “It’s fabulous news, I can’t wait to get the keys. Well done everyone! This is extremely encouraging.

“It’s brilliant to be part of the team who have worked so hard to get to where we are.”

Ore library closed in May 2018 as part of a cost cutting exercise by ESCC. Initially Ore Community Association took the lead in seeking to set up a community run library but that ultimately came to nothing and in June this year ESCC announced it had pulled the plug on any further negotiations with the Community Association and was seeking to sell the building.

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The library where time stood still. Closed in May 2018 Ore library is still fully stocked and ready to reopen.

That prompted a fresh bid by members of the community. ESCC gave them a very tight deadline to work to and members of the group had to present a full business plan for running and funding the library to the council by the end of August, which they managed to do.

In the report that will form the basis for the final decision officials of ESCC say: “The Ore Community Library proposal would provide social value to the community in Ore and is judged by the evaluation panel to be viable.”

However the documents also serve warning that at the end of the three year lease ESCC might decide it still wants to sell the building: “It is recommended that both parties fully recognise that beyond three years alternate building provision may be required for the Community Library, with the County Council having no obligation to provide or fund (it)”,

The report, prepared by Rupert Clubb, ESCC’s Director of Communities, Economy and Transport says: “Granting a three year peppercorn lease to OCLG to operate a Community Library in the former Ore Library building would represent a potential loss of rental income to ESCC of £18,000 over the three year period. Granting the lease instead of an immediate sale of the site would also defer a capital receipt of around £130,000. However, the option would remain for the council at the end of the lease period to sell the freehold or to consider an alternative use of the site, including a community asset transfer.”

 

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