Lambeth council leader Lib Peck has hit back at library campaigners who accused the council of wasting thousands of pounds on security for the closed Carnegie (Herne Hill) and Minet (Myatt’s Fields) libraries.
Laura Swaffield of Friends of Lambeth Libraries had emailed Lambeth councillors urging them to call a halt to the council’s plans for its libraries.
These include re-opening the Carnegie and Minet as “healthy living centres” run by council leisure provider GLL with gyms and books, but no full-time librarians.
Peck accused protesters who brought a full council meeting to a halt last week of having no intention of allowing the meeting to go ahead and interrupting “quite shamefully” tributes to Cllr Niranjan Francis, a council member who died in April.
Abandonment of the meeting, she said, meant it had not been possible to discuss future funding of schools and parks.
Peck said she had met Swaffield and other protesters on several occasions and that it was “unfortunate therefore that you continue to feel the need to disrupt the democratic process while claiming we have not listened to you”.
Peck laid out again the reasoning behind the council’s library plans and accused the campaigners of making claims that are “simply not correct”.
In particular, Peck said, the campaigners had made errors in their calculations – claiming in the letter to councillors that 369,000 minus 89,000 was 189,000, when it is actually 280,000.
She went on: “You continue to use that miscalculated figure throughout – I think that says a lot about the accuracy of your claims and your willingness to throw around any figure, no matter how true, to make your case.”