Earlier this week, County councillors voted to convert the top floor of Cambridge Central Library into an enterprise centre run by an outside company (Kora), and to close the café.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Susan van de Ven moved an amendment to the motion calling for a deferral pending a presentation from KORA, which Cllr Amanda Taylor seconded. Unfortunately they were outvoted on the amendment and the original recommendation went through.
Cllr van de Ven said:
“The matter came to councillors’ attention through papers for the March 17 Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee, of which a key set are marked ‘confidential’. The committee was asked to approve plans to go forward with Kora, though Kora was not present to answer questions, and the public was excluded from the meeting when the committee asked questions about confidential papers. There has been no public consultation or examination of a venture that carries significant unknowns and risks, and which perversely involves public expenditure at a time of deep cuts on the relinquishment of public space for private gain.
“With too little information, Lib Dem councillors, supported by Labour, proposed an amendment to postpone the decision subject to more information and a chance to question Kora directly. This was voted down by the Conservative, UKIP and Independent councillors, who went on to vote the Kora proposal through. The matter has now been ‘called-in’ for review by the council’s General Purposes Committee on the basis of lack of due process in decision-making.”
For a copy of the report to councillors, see here:
38 Degrees is running a petition called ‘Don’t Privatise the Third Floor of Cambridge Central Library’. The petition is here.
The Cambridge News covered this story here.