Call to action
for St Luke's Church
MAYOR of Liverpool Joe
Anderson wants a social enterprise to be set up to secure the future
of St Luke's Church. He is convening a public forum to be
chaired by BBC Radio Merseyside presenter Roger Phillips, with the
aim of engaging with different people and groups in the City who
want to help develop a plan to secure the iconic site.
It could see the creation of a Community Interest Company (CIC) to
raise funds to create a strong and sustainable future for the
much-loved building, known locally as the bombed out church.
It comes after the City received a non-solicited approach from a
private organisation with ideas for the site, which the Mayor has
Mayor Anderson said:- "I have been clear that it was never my
intention to sell St Luke's Church; it is a building which is
extremely important to me personally and I would never do anything
to jeopardise its legacy or status.
We have now decided not to proceed with the proposals to develop a
scheme inside the site. They were visionary and could have been
economically viable, but I believe they don't represent what I or
the public would want.
Conversations have also taken place with Urban Strawberry Lunch who
currently put on events within the grounds of the building. They
were constructive, but they don't at this time provide the security
and future that the site requires. However, they have carried out
some fantastic work at the site over the last few years and I am
keen that they play a key role in the discussions and debate about
the future of St Luke's.
The site requires a significant amount spending on it to secure the
safety of the structure, so we have also had some very early
positive discussions with the Arts Council about the possibility of
applying for funding.
I believe that setting up a CIC is our best option and will give us
the opportunity to work with as many people as possible who all have
the interests of St Luke's at heart."
A meeting date will be announced in the near future.
In the meantime the City Council is undertaking a structural survey
of the building because of the damage caused recently by the wind
and rain. Once the repairs have been made and it is safe, it will be
reopened to the public.
consultation gets underway
A consultation on the
future of Liverpool's libraries has now started, as the service seeks to
find savings of £2.5 million. The service needs to reduce its
£10 million budget by 25 per cent, as part of £156 million of
savings needed over the next 3 years due to cuts in Central
The scale of the challenge means there is likely to be a significant
reduction in the 19 libraries that are currently operated across
Liverpool. The City Council is committed to ensuring that
those that are retained are close to good transport routes and are
fully accessible. Decisions will also take into account local needs
as well as exploring opportunities to share building costs with
other services and organisations.
Now, residents are being asked to complete a questionnaire which
will give them the opportunity to have their say. A number of public
meetings will be held across the City, with dates and venues to be
confirmed. The questionnaire is aimed at establishing which
libraries are most frequently used, what times of the week/day are
popular, how far people travel to visit a library and how each
community library is valued. It will also ask people's views
on different ways of running the service, and whether they would be
willing to see community organisations and local housing groups take
over buildings, or introduce local book collection facilities.
Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for culture and tourism,
Councillor Wendy Simon, said:- "Due to the savings needed, we
have to make some extremely difficult decisions about the library
service. There is no doubt that in the future we will not be
able to have a library in every community, and that people may well
have to travel further to access the service. However,
we are really keen to hear what people think, and their ideas about
how we can mitigate the impact, or do things in a different way to
enable people to continue to have access to books, public
information and computers. The way in which people access
library services is also changing due to new technology, and that is
why we have recently re-launched our e-library service Read
Liverpool to enable people to download books, magazines and
periodicals free of charge without having to visit a library."
The consultation will run until Friday, 16 May 2014, and the form is
by phoning:- 0151 233 3069 and from libraries, One Stop Shops and
Neighbourhood Health Centres.
The results will be analysed by an independent local company.
Liverpool's 19 libraries are at:- Central on William Brown Street; Allerton; Breck Road; Childwall; Croxteth; Dovecot; Fazakerley;
Garston; Kensington; Lee Valley; Norris Green; Old Swan; Parklands;
Sefton Park; Spellow; Toxteth; Walton; Wavertree and West Derby.