A COMMUNITY Hub will open in Llandaff North next year, with building work set to start in May, despite concerns from a group of residents.
The Llandaff North & Gabalfa Community Hub will replace Llandaff North Branch Library on Gabalfa Avenue. It will hold community events, provide library services and contain a café.
A document on the Cardiff Council website states that replacing the library with the Community Hub could result in budget savings of £35,500.
But some local residents have expressed fears that library services will suffer from the incorporation of other services.
Janet Sims, a member of the Facebook group, Llandaff North and Whitchurch Daily Life, said: “When I attended the pubic consultation, no one from the council was able to say whether or not the library area would be reduced, as it looked small on the plan.”
Llandaff North Labour Councillor Dilwar Ali moved to reassure community members about the quality of library services.
“This will help save money in the long-term, and library services will be just as strong. It will be an improvement for the community because they will be able to use many services under one roof.
“Most people in the area are behind the idea, which you can see in our consultation document. The success of other Cardiff Hubs, like the one in Caerau, shows that it will be a positive.”
Cllr Ali also explained that library services will still be available to local people while the Community Hub is being built.
He said: “This is being discussed and it has been an ongoing issue at the last two council meetings. For one thing, there may be a mobile library service in the area.”
Another point of controversy has been the level of consultation with residents ahead of approving the Community Hub. Residents have pointed to a discrepancy in the consultation document on the Cardiff Council website.
The document states: “There were a total 258 valid responses received to the survey, seven‐tenths (71.7%) of which came from residents in either Llandaff North or Gabalfa.”
This would mean that 183 respondents lived in either Llandaff North or Gabalfa. But another part of the document states that only 137 respondents lived in those areas.
According to the document, two-thirds of respondents supported the development.
Members of the Llandaff North and Whitchurch Daily Life group criticised the statistics in the consultation document.
Tony Chick said: “It surprises me somewhat that just 10 Gabalfa residents responded, and so to say 71.7% of the total respondents came from Llandaff North and Gabalfa is skewing the truth somewhat.
“Yes, most were from Llandaff North, but very few were from Gabalfa. Whitchurch and Tongwynlais gave four times as many responses as Gabalfa.”
Penny Bowers said: “The consultation was so complicated to get through, or at least so long-winded that many people didn’t get through it or even appreciate the consequences.
“We think that no matter how much anyone campaigned the decisions were already made.”
The Llandaff North Labour Councillors declined to comment on the criticisms, but the consultation document claims the council used several methods of public consultation.
It states: “Members of the public were encouraged to complete the survey online with the consultation widely promoted through a leaflet drop to all households in the Llandaff North area as well as part of Gabalfa, via social media and on the Cardiff Council and community partnership websites.
“Static display material and draft layout plans for the Llandaff North and Gabalfa community hub were in place at Llandaff North library and the link to the online layout plans were included in the survey.
“Additionally five ‘drop‐in sessions’ were held in the Llandaff North and Gabalfa areas at which officers were on hand to explain the proposals, promote the consultation and respond to any questions raised by members of the public.
“In addition, a stakeholder meeting, a visit to a local primary school and visits to other community buildings in both areas were undertaken during the consultation period.”