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Police push for money to go to officers, not libraries
1:00pm Wednesday 13th February 2013 in News
THAMES Valley Police (TVP) has puzzled campaigners by calling for libraries to receive less money from housing development deals.
Force chiefs said libraries should not get cash as part of “section 106” deals between developers and West Oxfordshire District Council.
They want money to go on infrastructure improvements such as roads and employing extra police officers.
Simon Dackombe, Thames Valley’s strategic planner, objected to the council’s bid to class libraries as infrastructure.
He said: “Whilst acknowledging the function that libraries serve, TVP does not consider that their function and provision should be specifically identified over and above other functions and infrastructure, including policing.”
The issue is part of a consultation on the council’s core strategy, a blueprint for where new estates will go by 2029.
Cash will also come from the new Community Infrastructure Levy, which charges developers per square metre of new development.
It says: “Provision must be made for the facilities and services that are essential for growth such as schools, roads, libraries and open space. Without appropriate investment in new and enhanced infrastructure, existing services will come under pressure and may be unable to cope.”
Judith Wardle, former co-ordinator of the Save Oxfordshire Libraries campaign, said: “I am puzzled as to why Thames Valley Police should single out libraries as not requiring developer money. Libraries are one essential element of community developments and there are places, including West Oxfordshire, where libraries are housed in very old buildings, and if there is the opportunity to use section 106 funds for enhancing library provision that is good for communities anywhere.”