Literally across the road from MediaCityUK, Salford Council is spending absolute fortunes on the edges of Ordsall to improve its appearance – over £1million tarting up the walkways by the River Irwell; almost £450,000 on `greening' Guy Fawkes Street, Warburton Street and the Walkable Streets Programme; and well over £1million on refurbishing Ordsall Hall…
At MediaCityUK itself, literally hundreds of millions of pounds worth of public money is being sunk into the new development for the BBC, University of Salford et al. The idea is get our kids and communities to aspire to work at the new complex.
But, in Ordsall itself, to save a relatively tiny amount of money as part of Salford City Council's spending cuts, the local library is being closed down and relocated to a sports centre, Fit City Ordsall, which will take away a valuable educational resource right at the heart of that community.
At a consultation meeting yesterday reps from Salford Council and local councillor, Peter Dobbs, were left in no doubt about the feelings of Ordsall people.
"I don't think it's right" said Lisa Heywood "They're taking everything out of our community. They're spending fortunes on Media City, why can't they spend fortunes here? Because it's for us – that's all it is.
"I don't want my kids going all the way over to Fit City" she added "You don't know who's going in and out of there, they won't be safe. It's not a place for a library, it just isn't. I asked the people from the Council `Do you know what it's like to walk from here to Fit City?' And they said `We're not from this area' – well get someone down who is from this area, they don't know what it's like."
Lisa was scathing about the whole consultation exercise…
"There's no advantages taking the library over there" she said "All they're doing is being polite to us, going `You've had your say, we've made the decision and it's going anyway'. Come next year they'll say `We're closing it down because no-one's using the library'. Of course they're not using the library it's in a sports centre! They're just taking everything away from us and I don't think it's fair."
Her words were echoed throughout the meeting with people lining up to have their say, convinced that Salford Council is moving Ordsall Library to the unpopular location of Fit City in order to close it at a later date.
"Once they close this and move it to there, less people will use it and that will give them enough reason to say `It's not being used, let's close it completely'" said Rev Sandra Kearney from St Clement's Church "And if this room here at the current library isn't used that might have a knock on affect for the rest of the building – we all know that the Council wants to sell some of its buildings.
"I'm definitely opposing this because children who haven't got computers use this library but they won't be allowed to go down to that area in Fit City" she added "It's dark, it's not lit properly and there is a lack of disabled access. It's just not fair on the children."
Natallia Kamianets, who lives on Ordsall estate, runs a young people's Russian language school called ALMAZ from the library on Saturdays.
"This would be a disaster for us" she said "We're very upset because it took us a long time to find accommodation that fulfilled the criteria for children and parents for Saturdays. If the library moves to Fit City, unfortunately we won't be able to run our school."
Outside of the consultation meeting, young people had made banners and placards in support of Ordsall Library…
"I want to save the library because it helps me to do my homework and I like reading the books" said Savanna, 15 "Moving it is a bad idea because I'd have to walk through the park and if it's late at night after school it will be dark."
Becky, 13, agreed…"My mum doesn't like me going through the park, they should keep it here. I use it a lot to help me with my homework."
So much for encouraging Ordsall's young people's aspirations.
"They might as well just get the library and land it in the middle of Salford Quays because that's what it's going to be" concluded Lisa Heywood "They don't need a library at Salford Quays, they've probably got one in their own houses.
"If they take the building off us, organisations like Ordsall Community Arts will lose out too, and they'll say `Well it's only a few people in Salford who will lose their jobs, so what?...We've got Media City and everyone from London can come down here and have jobs'. They just don't care about us…"
To have your say on the future of Ordsall Library you can fill in a `Customer Feedback' form available from the Library or Fit City Ordsall.