Sutton Coldfield Podcast ep20: The Library

In October 2016, Birmingham City Council announced its plans to close Sutton Coldfield Library as part of its city-wide changes to the library services.

save the library placards

On hearing the news the Sutton Coldfield Liberal Party set up a Save Sutton Coldfield Library Facebook group which evolved into The Library Lobby Facebook,

Immediately, the campaign group set about examining in detail the arguments put forward by BCC for the closure of the community asset and found grounds to challenge them.

The Sutton Coldfield Town Council pledged their support and have agreed to commit £150,000 on the condition that BCC also support the saving of the library by making much needed repairs to the vacant rooms on the 2nd floor which will help raise funds for the continued running of the library through the letting of that space.

In this podcast I speak with Paul Tomlinson of the Library Lobby and Cllr Simon Ward of Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council (

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4 Responses

  1. Richard says:

    Thanks Najm, very interesting. Is this the first time a member of SCTC has ever spoken at length, in public and on the record? Anyway, long overdue.

    A couple of points. Firstly Tory councillors were elected on the Tory Manifesto, a very unambitious document, not as Simon Ward claims, to provide ‘good local services’. Six Pillars came after the election, not before, as one might have expected.

    Secondly Simon Ward (who claims several times that he has to have regard to the precept) is, I believe, a supporter of both ‘Cycles in Town’ and the CBSO concert. Together the budget for those is at least £200, 000. Neither were in the manifesto, although the first could easily have been. And complaining about BCC delays is all very well but perhaps Mr Ward should have acknowledged that, months on, the cycle scheme is going nowhere.

    Finally, the throwaway remark about ‘being charged to use our Park’. As a user (on foot) I’m fed up with inconsiderate parking and having to dodge cars. Anything which controls that is to be welcomed.

  2. Paul Tomlinson says:

    Today, Tue 28 March is a pivotal day in the campaign to Save Sutton Coldfield Library. The Library Lobby will be having a rally with Friends of Libraries of Birmingham from 12.30-2.00pm outside the Library and then it is onto leafleting and lobbying the Cllrs before they attend tonight’s Town Council Meeting from 6pm outside the Town Hall. Please join our campaign and be active!

  3. Roger Barley says:

    On Friday 31st March I attended a lovely 80th birthday party for our Library. There was story telling for children, beautiful music from the Artume String Quartet and a fascinating talk by local author and historian Stephen Roberts based on his book Birmingham 1889, One Year In A Victorian City.
    I was sorry to learn that the Sutton Town Council had withdrawn it’s support to maintain the Library to the year end which would have allowed amicable talks to continue with the Local Althority. This would have been real community support for the Town and will, regrettably, be seen as the Town Council missing a vital opportunity to show an interest in something of great importance to all of our children and adults especially those young people who have the in the Library a fabulous educational resource. So, come on Town Council and Local Authority, put the political blaming aside and give our Library some real practical help; perhaps an emergency meeting of the Town Council should be held to reverse the perverse decision to refuse the help needed to sustain the Library to the end of year and allow amicable talks with the LA to conclude. Let’s all call for an emergency public meeting of the TownCouncil!
    Please respond with your views on this important local topic,,
    Roger Barley,
    Reddicap Ward.

  4. Anon says:

    …And despite this type of news headiline, despite all the public funding cuts and despite all the chaos that we have seen under the Tory stewardship, we will wake up on the 9th June living in a Tory constituency within in a Tory led country hurtling towards a Tory Brexit. Stop the world, I want to get off.