“The Parish Council believes that it has made every effort to bring about the establishing of a Community Library in the village but sadly the intransigence of the county council to negotiate a more realistic lease agreement has made this impossible.
“Lincolnshire County Council would not agree to a minimum five year lease on the existing building, insisting that its Model Heads of Terms are applied allowing it to break the lease arrangement at any time.”
The spokesman continued:
“The Parish Council is also grateful to County Councillor Jackie Brockway for her considerable mediating efforts with Lincolnshire and hopes it is not too late for any other interested parties to step in.”The Chairman of the Parish Council Terry Williams added:
“This is an extremely disappointing outcome, but the Parish Council was left with no choice in the matter due to the insistence of the County Council on the inclusion of a condition in the Lease of the Building that meant they could terminate the arrangements at the drop of a hat.”
“It is absurd that Netteham's library will almost certainly close despite Nettleham Parish Council and over ninety local volunteers having come forward to continue to operate a local library.
“Nettleham Parish Council requested a slight extension in order to put together the business plan, given the delays on the part of the county council this seemed a reasonable request. The business plan is important because it gives the county council assurance the community-led library will be successfully delivered; a request was also made to reconsider part of the agreement between the parties.
“Nettleham Parish Council has had no option but to withdraw from the process, leaving local residents with an uncertain future for the library in the village.”Lincolnshire County Councillor Nick Worth, Executive Member with responsibilities for Library Services, defended the county council's position saying:
"We offered the parish council a 10-year lease on the current library building. However, as is standard practice, this includes a clause allowing us to break the lease if the community hub is underperforming.
"This is an important clause that's needed to ensure the public receive a quality service.
"We thank the parish council for their efforts, and we will now focus on working with Lincolnshire Co-operative who have submitted a business plan for Nettleham."In Nettleham, a bid from a community group has also been withdrawn, but Lincolnshire Co-operative remains in the running.
A total of thirty libraries are threatened with closure following the decision of Lincolnshire County Council's Executive who have decided to make cuts of £1.7 million to the Library budget by removing professional staff.
The move has been criticised by campaigners who lobbied unsuccessfully for the council to drop the proposals, and which are now subject to a judicial review. The county council has proceeded with the cuts despite receiving a petition against the closures which gained more than 23,000 signatures.
Communities across Lincolnshire provided thirty firm bids to run the libraries as 'community hubs'.