District council ‘loans’ £184k to Moulton parish council to keep library open

Moulton library is in the village's community centre
Moulton library is in the village's community centre

Plans to save Moulton library have taken a huge step forward after Daventry District Council effectively agreed to loan the village’s parish council £184,000.

Northamptonshire County Council has reviewed its library service to see what it needs to legally provide, and where possible, transfer libraries over to community groups. Within the Daventry district, Daventry and Brixworth Libraries are to be retained as statutory provision but Moulton, Long Buckby and Woodford are not.

Moulton Parish Council has drawn up plans which would see it provide a community library in the current facility at Moulton Community Centre. This would take advantage of an offer from the county council to provide books, ICT and other support in return for an annual fee from the parish council.

Community, culture and leisure portfolio holder for Daventry District Council (DDC), Councillor Alan Hills, said: “This is to seek approval to help secure the continued provision of Moulton library. This is a project I feel sure all members will want to support. This is short-term funding really rather like a bridging loan.

“Moulton library is no longer on the list to be retained, and this is one of the ways we as a council can ensure that the library is kept open.”

The deal was agreed by the district council’s strategy group on Thursday (October 17) but still requires the approval of the full council.

It will see DDC provide the parish council with £184,000 to purchase the surrender of the lease, on the condition that the parish council then provides a community library for a ‘sensible minimum period’ suggested as 15 years.

The funds would come from the district council’s Strategic Infrastructure Fund. The council would get its money back from planning obligation funds from developers, of which £285,000 are due over the next few years. Once DDC has made its money back, any remaining planning obligation sums would be paid to the parish council to ‘maintain, improve and operate’ the library.

Councillor Richard Auger, who is due to become leader of the district council at the start of November, said: “As a country libraries are one of the fabrics of our society. It’s really good that we, as a district council, are intervening positively in retaining this.

“I know we wish that things could be better in terms of funding and maintaining these things, but sometimes it takes a positive intervention from the local members to achieve something that is positive for that community for generations.”

And portfolio holder for finance, Councillor Colin Morgan, added: “It’s a short term loan basically and it’s the right thing to do.”

The report states that the agreement ‘causes only minimal impact’ on the council’s financial position.