Almost £1 million wasted to house a library no-one uses

December 02, 2012 12:43 PM

Why does a council pay £85,000 a year in rent, to house a library that's barely used, located in a sports stadium built and paid for by taxpayers? Don't ask me; ask Hull City Council.

When Kingston Communications was floated in the stock exchange, Hull City Council cashed in some of its shareholding, and decided to build a new stadium with the proceeds. The KC Stadium (as it is known) is now the home of Hull City AFC and Hull FC Rugby League Club. A Stadium Management Company (SMC) was set-up to manage day-to-day operations.

Taxpayers have never really benefited from this arrangement, and have seen very little return for their money. Under the lease deal with the SMC, the council receives a small percentage of the firm's profit. According to the Hull Daily Mail, official figures show the council has only received £47,846 since the stadium opened in 2002. When the owner of Hull City, Assem Allam, wanted to buy the stadium last year and build a sports village, talks broke down, and now  it appears he has abandoned his plans to develop the area.

I have visited the stadium on many occasions and I can honestly say I didn't know there was a library there. Judging by comments I have seen on the Hull Daily Mail's website and comments on Twitter, I am not alone. Cllr Terry Geraghty, portfolio holder for leisure said public use of the library was "almost zero" and he blamed the isolated location.

As a result of this appalling decision ten years ago, taxpayers have stumped up almost £1 million. It should have been obvious to anyone with a modicum of intelligence that locating a library there was never going to work. The stadium is isolated, and I can't imagine many football and rugby league fans wanting to borrow a couple of books before they watch a match.

This story makes me wonder how many other underutilised buildings the council either owns or rents. I am sure this story is not a one-off.Why does a council pay £85,000 a year in rent, to house a library that's barely used, located in a sports stadium built and paid for by taxpayers? Don't ask me; ask Hull City Council.

When Kingston Communications was floated in the stock exchange, Hull City Council cashed in some of its shareholding, and decided to build a new stadium with the proceeds. The KC Stadium (as it is known) is now the home of Hull City AFC and Hull FC Rugby League Club. A Stadium Management Company (SMC) was set-up to manage day-to-day operations.

Taxpayers have never really benefited from this arrangement, and have seen very little return for their money. Under the lease deal with the SMC, the council receives a small percentage of the firm's profit. According to the Hull Daily Mail, official figures show the council has only received £47,846 since the stadium opened in 2002. When the owner of Hull City, Assem Allam, wanted to buy the stadium last year and build a sports village, talks broke down, and now  it appears he has abandoned his plans to develop the area.

I have visited the stadium on many occasions and I can honestly say I didn't know there was a library there. Judging by comments I have seen on the Hull Daily Mail's website and comments on Twitter, I am not alone. Cllr Terry Geraghty, portfolio holder for leisure said public use of the library was "almost zero" and he blamed the isolated location.

As a result of this appalling decision ten years ago, taxpayers have stumped up almost £1 million. It should have been obvious to anyone with a modicum of intelligence that locating a library there was never going to work. The stadium is isolated, and I can't imagine many football and rugby league fans wanting to borrow a couple of books before they watch a match.

This story makes me wonder how many other underutilised buildings the council either owns or rents. I am sure this story is not a one-off.

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