Outcome of consultation into halls, libraries and community centres approved
Posted on 9 Jun 2021
The future of our halls, libraries and community centres is taking shape following one of the largest consultation exercises ever carried out in North Ayrshire.
Thousands of residents have had their say on plans to develop a Community Hub model which reflects the learning which has been gained over the past year through the way we delivered services to communities throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The results of that consultation were approved at a meeting of Full Council (on Wednesday, June 9)
The proposals approved by Elected Members – and developed with the support of staff and trade unions – received broad public support during the consultation.
The proposals aim to retain services and activities where possible, in partnership with community partners, whilst also reducing the Council’s property portfolio to reduce financial commitments and carbon emissions.
While the majority of proposals put forward attracted support or acceptance by the majority of respondents, in some cases the local community did not support them.
These views have been taken on board by the Council and as a result, it has been confirmed that libraries in Beith, Saltcoats, Dreghorn and West Kilbride will not be relocated to nearby community centres (Beith Community Centre, Argyle Community Centre, Townend Community Centre and West Kilbride Community Centre).
Council Leader Joe Cullinane said: “Halls, Libraries and Community Centres are the social fabric that bring communities together and I believe that is something that we all value and these facilities are going to be even more important as we come out the current pandemic.
“Officers published a set of specific proposals for each of our facilities. They sought to embed the Community Hub model which has proven so successful during the pandemic - bringing teams together into key locations to adopt a one-stop shop principle to service delivery, removing unnecessary bureaucracy, speeding up internal processes and response times, and making our systems easier for citizens to navigate when seeking help.
“The effectiveness of the Community Hub model is a key lesson for the Council coming out of the pandemic, one that we cannot ignore and simply return to the old way of working.
“There were proposals in the final consultation that did not gain the support of those participating in the process. It was clear from the feedback we received, that local communities did not want us to relocate West Kilbride, Beith, Saltcoats and Dreghorn libraries to nearby community centres, so these will be retained.
“We have demonstrated time and again, in deeds not just words, that when we ask citizens to participate in decision-making processes, we will listen, and we will act upon their wishes.”
In the coming months and years, the Council will continue to work in partnership with communities to explore options in relation to increasing community ownership in North Ayrshire in line with the Community Empowerment Act and the Community Wealth Building Strategy.
The Council will also review the feedback received from respondents during the consultation process and report back on how future consultations will address any issued raised.
Full details of the proposals can be viewed at https://bit.ly/3plqLQU