South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet meeting on 4th December decided unanimously to move Thornbury Library into Turnberries.
They reached their decision with hardly any debate despite a lengthy consultation exercise which saw the public reject the move by a large majority of more than two to one. Most of the 50 letters opposed the move too, and so did Thornbury Town Council, who set out their concerns at length.
Speaking to the Cabinet, Thornbury’s Lib Dem Councillors, Maggie Tyrrell and Clare Fardell, as well as David Chubb (Conservative) all strongly opposed the move. They pointed out that Turnberries is not seen as part of the Town Centre, and is inconvenient for many people to reach. The move is likely to have a bad impact on the shops, cafes and other nearby businesses.
“Why ask local people for their views and then ignore them?” asked Clare Fardell. “Unfortunately that has lately become a habit of those who control South Glos Council.”
An audible gasp greeted Cllr Heather Goddard’s announcement that “Thornbury is a dying town,” as she claimed that if Turnberries contained the Library, it would attract more people into the town.
Maggie Tyrrell immediately pointed out that the thriving café, pubs, restaurants and other attractions already make Thornbury a very popular destination.
After the meeting Cllr Shirley Holloway (Lib Dem) said, “I can’t believe Heather said what she did. We all know very few other towns provide so much voluntary community activity, from our amazing Thornbury in Bloom and the Christmas Lights to a huge and growing variety of clubs and societies.”
Local councillors will do their best to overturn this decision but the Cabinet decision will not be easy to reverse.