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‘Business as usual’ as Greenwich Leisure Limited begins Bromley libraries contract

PUBLISHED: 09:30 02 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:40 02 November 2017

Chris Symons from GLL (left) and Peter Morgan, executive councillor for renewal and recreation (right) outside Bromley Central Library

Chris Symons from GLL (left) and Peter Morgan, executive councillor for renewal and recreation (right) outside Bromley Central Library

Archant

The contract started on Wednesday

The new operator of Bromley’s 14 libraries began the first day of its 10 year contract this week.

On Wednesday, Greenwich Leisure Limited kicked off the decade of service, after Bromley council selected it as the preferred operator in July.

As part of its tendering exercise, the council sought out a provider that could “operate the existing library service, with the same number of libraries and existing staff”.

But Unite campaigner Onay Kasab feels the move is “ignoring the view of residents”, after widespread campaigning from union members.

He said: “Our position is well known - we strongly believe that public services belong in the public sector.

“Bromley council have acted in an appalling, two faced and cynical manner by ignoring the the views of residents and library users as expressed in two consultation exercises conducted by the council.

“Local democracy is not just about asking for people’s views, what you do with those views is just as important.”

Director of development at GLL, Chris Symons, said: “We are excited about managing Bromley libraries – bringing our wealth of experience and innovation in providing high quality library services that local people want.

“Where we operate libraries, footfall increases as we attract readers of all ages into brighter, more modern facilities. We are looking forward to working with staff and customers to demonstrate the positive difference a social enterprise can make at community level.”

Peter Morgan, executive councillor for renewal and recreation said, “We are very proud of our library service, which is demonstrated by the multi-million investment we have made and the way we have looked to protect this service. We are pleased to welcome GLL, who are an experienced libraries operator, to the borough to manage our library service. It is very much business as usual, with opening hours unchanged and the same levels of staff continuing to serve residents of this borough and the many others that use our libraries.”

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