Q. Is Carmondean Connected closing?
A. No. All services currently at Carmondean Connected, such as the library, Macmillan services, public access PCs and council information services, are proposed to be re-located the very short distance to the Ability Centre.
Q. Why is the move taking place?
A. West Lothian Council has a strong track record of delivering improved services and making savings through our partnership centre model. The integration and modernisation of services has proven successful in other parts of the county including Armadale, Bathgate, East Calder, Broxburn, Fauldhouse and Linlithgow.
Q. What about services at the Ability Centre? Is there enough space?
A. The current Ability Centre was under-utilised in terms of floor space with a number of empty or unused spaces, so the services from Carmondean Connected can be accommodated comfortably. There will be a slight reduction in dedicated space, however the circulation spaces and meeting room spaces will be increased.
Q. What improvement will be made to the Ability Centre?
A. A total of £1 million will be invested in renovating the Ability Centre to facilitate the move and ensure the centre meets existing and future client / customer requirements.
The renovated Ability Centre will enable integrated service delivery by adding a new café area, the relocated Library, Customer Information Service, MacMillan Cancer Support and other ancillary uses such a community meeting rooms and staff accommodation to existing services.
Q. What benefits will the move bring?
A. The partnership centre model has been very successful across West Lothian, with customers taking the opportunity to access a variety of services in one location. Library based activity usage has increased after the move to partnership centres in other parts of West Lothian.
The new centre will provide a greater range of services for the community and create a new hub for services in the north of Livingston. The addition of a café and spacious seating area will encourage social integration.
Q. Are any services being lost or downgraded?
A. No, all activities and services currently provided by both the Ability Centre and Carmondean Connected are being retained.
Q. What will happen to the current Carmondean Connected building?
A. The current Carmondean Connected will no longer be required for the delivery of services, so will be declared surplus and subject to the council's approved Surplus Property Procedures. Previous library buildings which were surplus after the move to partnership centres have been sold or let to local businesses, such as nurseries and shops.
The site will continued to be monitored to prevent vandalism and anti-social behavior, with appropriate action taken as required. The local GP practice and neighbouring businesses will be kept involved in the planning stages.
Q. Why do you need to make savings and how much money will the move save?
A. West Lothian Council needs to make savings as the Scottish Government revenue grant funding we receive is not sufficient to meet increasing costs and demand for council services by the area's growing young and older populations.
Based on budget assumptions, the council faces a significant revenue budget gap of over £65million over a five year period.
In this instance, the savings achieved through vacating the current Carmondean Connected building will only partially fund the £1 million cost of renovating the Ability Centre, so the move is an overall investment in community services for Livingston North.
Q. Will the Macmillan @ Carmondean service still be available?
A. Yes, local residents will still be able to access Macmillan services such as benefit advice over two days at the new location of the Ability Centre.