Wednesday, 22 May 2019
25 May 2011

Labour's Curve - Slough's next white elephant

The excessively expensive Curve attracts more public ridicule

Slough's new library is to be called 'The Curve'.

In my view, this ludicrously named building is nothing but a symbol of shocking profligacy; its construction has resulted in the demolition of three library buildings as part of the 'Heart of Slough' scheme. Did Slough need to play an expensive game of musical libraries at vast public expense?

Firstly, the council demolished the Old Library (latterly the home of Age Concern) against much local opposition. The council then had to rent alternative premises for Age Concern at a cost to the taxpayer of £240,000 per year. The monstrous 'curve' will be constructed on this site in due course.

Secondly, the Heart of Slough scheme also involves the demolition of the Thames Valley University Library, constructed in 1997 at a cost of £3.6 million of public money (currently being demolished).

Thirdly, Slough Central Library will be demolished following completion of the Curve, despite the fact that it is in good condition and offers a larger lending space than the proposed Curve.

Most tragically of all, it seems to me that despite the millions being spent, there is a real danger that the Curve will be a white elephant before it is even finished; I read in the newspaper that top public school, Wellington College, is to get rid of 10,000 books from its library as its pupils wish to use Ipads instead. I also read that online store Amazon now sells more electronic books than it does printed versions.

With this in mind, I question the wisdom of building a new library building when there is evidence to suggest that the days of the public lending library may well be numbered - particularly when Slough has a perfectly decent public library that was opened in 1974.

The Heart of Slough scheme, which is now causing massive disruption to motorists and bus users, is the love child of Labour run Slough Council and the previous Labour government. With money being wasted like this, it is no wonder that Labour is responsible for the worst budget deficit of modern times.

Tristan Miles