Sale of Milton Road Library
In June 2021, just two years after it reopened with a great fanfare after being rebuilt, we discovered through seeing an advertisement in the local paper that the new library on Milton Road was up for sale. The new building was developed by This Land Ltd, a company set up by the County Council, which is its sole shareholder and 'controlling entity'. Many local people had fought hard to retain a library on the site, and before the pandemic it had been a well-used local resource, so we were extremely disappointed to hear that its long-term future was under threat.
HPERA decided to campaign on the issue. We let residents know about the proposed sale, set up a petition, asking the council to immediately pause the sale, and held a protest outside the library that resulted in press coverage in both the Cambridge News and Cambridge Independent. HPERA Chair Andrew Milbourn and secretary Nicky Webb then attended a meeting of the County Council’s Strategy & Resources committee, to present the petition.
Below: local people protest about the proposed sale.
Below: some of the many messages left by protestors explaining why we need libraries in our communities.
Above: the new library and community rooms.
However it seems that despite the new administration’s support for the library, they are powerless to stop the sale going ahead, as they ceded all control to This Land Ltd when they set it up. It appears therefore that the library will no longer have a home when the current lease expires in twenty years.
If you share our concerns about the way in which the county council seems to have given away a vital community asset to a private company, which is then free to sell it, please write to our new county councillor, Gerri Bird, the leader of the council Lucy Nethsingha and her deputy Elisa Meschini, and the new councillor for Arbury, Hilary Cox Condron (in whose division the library sits).