Southampton City Council is now inviting organisations to apply to manage and run a “community hub and library at Cobbett Road”.
As reported, the library has been effectively closed for over a year, since Social Care in Action pulled out from running it after nearly four years.
The council says in procurement documents at https://supplierlive.proactisp2p.com/ [using reference REQ/1000041 - registration necessary] that had been expected to go out last year, that it’s “looking for organisations and partners who have the vision and experience to respond to the needs of the local community, to apply for a long-term arrangement, based from Cobbett Road to provide a library and community offer suitable to the asset and the community.”
Handover to any successful ‘bidder’, for an initial five year period, will be “After 1st June 2022”.
The operator will need to “have a financially sustainable plan” as the council will continue to not fund the library, and no minimum level of income from running it is guaranteed, although “equipment, stock and expertise to run a library” are promised.
Councillor Spiros Vassiliou, cabinet member for communities, culture & heritage said: “Cobbett Road Hub & Library has been a pillar of the community throughout its 80-year history. We are committed to this significant building being an asset to the area, and this is a great opportunity for any community groups, or organisations who may be looking to expand, or move to a premises in a prime location within Bitterne Park.”
The voluntary Friends of Cobbett Road Library group have said they are looking forward to library operations being restored, and are “ready to support any new operator as far as they’re able”.
Interested parties haven't got long to consider the opportunity: they need to apply by noon on April 5.