I am the district ward councillor for Malton Ward. I attended the public meeting arranged at the offices of Norton Town Council this month.

I live in Great Habton, and Malton library is our nearest library.

My wife uses Malton library regularly. She changes books on a weekly basis, and does this as part of her weekly shop. I visit the library less frequently.

I strongly oppose the closure of either Malton or Norton libraries, and/or the merger of both libraries to a location at Malton station.

Both Norton and Malton libraries have adequate library facilities. I do not accept the argument that more space is needed for meeting rooms etc. Both towns are already well provided for in regard to such public facilities. There are rooms which can be hired at Ryedale House, Norton Town Hall, the Museum, the Milton Rooms and the schools.

I do not accept the argument that it is inappropriate to keep two libraries open which are within less than a mile of each other. There are many urban libraries in other parts of the country which are situated as close, and which are not destined to close. Further, access from one town to the other is restricted by the railway crossing and the bridge across the river.

Norton needs its library for local people, and particularly for the primary schools.

Both Malton and Norton libraries are located within the commercial limits of either town and serve their town centres. I strongly believe that to take either library out of the existing commercial limits of the existing town centres will further weaken the town centres themselves. People who include a library visit in their weekly shop will be less inclined to use local shops if the libraries are taken away or moved to another location.

Merger and relocation at Malton Station will weaken the two town centres, and will provide few (if any) advantages to the people of Malton and Norton. In the case of both towns, most people will have to travel further from their homes to get to the station than they do to get to their existing local library. Car parking at the station is limited, because of the customer car park for passengers using the trains, whilst there is an abundance of car parking (mainly free) within easy walking distance of both Malton and Norton libraries.

If one library has to close, I would naturally wish to see Malton library retained. However, I do not accept the need to close or merge either library. I understand the need to make economies, but I am also aware of the suggestions of County Councillor John Clark, and would ask the County Council to carefully consider his and other ideas before making any hasty decisions which County might soon come to regret.


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