Labour MP Alex Sobel has asked for reassurance to be given to the people of Otley about the reopening of Otley Library.
The MP for Leeds North West sought clarification after various rumours regarding the Library’s future were circulated. Mr Sobel obtained confirmation from the library that the refurbishment was not an excuse to permanently close the library. He also asked for details about the installation of solar panels.
Mr Sobel said, “The Library havs categorically confirmed that it will reopen upon completion and that this is set to be Tuesday 23rd April. There have been concerns about the Cross Green temporary facility in town being small and hard to access. The Library has assured me that this was done to keep the library, one-stop service and computer access available locally, whilst the main site was closed for work that was unsafe for the public. Any book in the Leeds catalogue could be ordered from Cross Green. The buzzer access is for safety, as the building also houses Otley Children’s Centre.”
“It would be fantastic for the library to be fitted with solar panels. When the refurbishment was originally planned, there was no national funding scheme available to make it happen. Otley Town Council have proposed that Leeds applies to the new ‘Smart Export Scheme’ – this is a market driven scheme rather than a subsidy and the city council are looking at the business case for that. I am told that if a viable funding scheme can be found, solar panels will be added when the money is secured.”
“From April 1st, the Government has scrapped the Feed-In and Export Tariffs which provided payment to communities and individuals in exchange for using and selling clean energy such as solar back to the grid. This premature decision will deter people from new installations, and slow down solar development.”
“I have been fighting this tooth and nail in Parliament. During my time as a councillor, we secured 1003 solar panels for council houses. It is very disappointing that this funding is being scrapped. I will continue to argue for Feed-In Tariffs as I believe it is vital for communities to have a stake in the battle against climate change.”
Mr Sobel was impressed with the improved facilities that will be on offer at the Library: “There will be interview rooms available to house the Citizens Advice Bureau, which is excellent news for the town. There will be a refreshed stock of books, improved public toilets, décor and facilities for staff. There will also be a much-improved heating system to rectify the fact that many found it either too hot or too cold.”
“I am excited about the reopening and hope to be there for it if Parliament is not sitting.”