Council committee members trapped in library and staff went home

Council committee members trapped in library and staff went home (Pic: Google)

Council committee members trapped in library and staff went home (Pic: Google)

First published in News

Seven councillors and 19 members of the public were trapped in a library after staff forgot they had a meeting, locked the doors and went home.

Some of the intrepid councillors used torches to beam SOS signals outside after getting trapped in the public library at about 8.30pm on Thursday.

West Sussex County Council has apologised for the blunder, which involved a number of elderly people.


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But a spokesman from the council added: “It was just one of those things.”

He added: “People weren’t in any danger. We apologise for any inconvenience.”

It is understood the people involved – which also included council officials – were locked in Crawley Library for about 30 minutes after the meeting ended.

Labour councillor Peter Lamb, who was among those trapped, said: “We tried a range of activities from banging on doors to shining lights.

“It was personally amusing on my part but I think some people were upset.

“What if there had been a fire?

“You can’t really keep the doors locked in a building.

“It was a community meeting and there were a lot of elderly residents.

“A number of people were angry rather than upset.”

Conservative Richard Burrett added: “We held our East Crawley County Local Committee meeting and when we went to leave we realised all the doors had been locked.

“We waited for a while and then tried the emergency numbers.

“Some worked, some did not.

“Eventually we got out.”

Comments (12)

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7:26am Sat 8 Mar 14

Quiterie says...

Intrepid?!?! Really??? Shining a light outside is intrepid? Indiana Jones would have been very proud.....
Intrepid?!?! Really??? Shining a light outside is intrepid? Indiana Jones would have been very proud..... Quiterie
  • Score: 20

10:46am Sat 8 Mar 14

ICantThinkOfAName says...

No phones available?
No phones available? ICantThinkOfAName
  • Score: 8

11:04am Sat 8 Mar 14

tykemison says...

ICantThinkOfAName wrote:
No phones available?
Knowing our councillors, the meeting was probably about whether or not to use mobiles if this eventuality happened! ! ! Probably got locked in because they were debating red or white wine!
[quote][p][bold]ICantThinkOfAName[/bold] wrote: No phones available?[/p][/quote]Knowing our councillors, the meeting was probably about whether or not to use mobiles if this eventuality happened! ! ! Probably got locked in because they were debating red or white wine! tykemison
  • Score: 9

12:52pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Goldenwight says...

“What if there had been a fire? "

Well, I assume you would have called the fire brigade dummy- or are you too stupid to do that? What would you have done if your house caught fire?

And these people feel they are intelligent enough to represent our views despite their obvious mental incompetence. May I call for Peter Lamb's immediate resignation on the grounds of mental incompetence and or inabilty to make reasonable judgements, or challenge him to prove otherwise- come on, Argus, do your stuff.
“What if there had been a fire? " Well, I assume you would have called the fire brigade dummy- or are you too stupid to do that? What would you have done if your house caught fire? And these people feel they are intelligent enough to represent our views despite their obvious mental incompetence. May I call for Peter Lamb's immediate resignation on the grounds of mental incompetence and or inabilty to make reasonable judgements, or challenge him to prove otherwise- come on, Argus, do your stuff. Goldenwight
  • Score: 6

2:07pm Sat 8 Mar 14

mimseycal says...

Did I read that aright ... did only some of the emergency numbers work? That being the case, of what use is an emergency number that cannot be contacted in an emergency?
Did I read that aright ... did only some of the emergency numbers work? That being the case, of what use is an emergency number that cannot be contacted in an emergency? mimseycal
  • Score: 8

4:59pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Theloftyone says...

mimseycal wrote:
Did I read that aright ... did only some of the emergency numbers work? That being the case, of what use is an emergency number that cannot be contacted in an emergency?
I believe it to be a tradition in council offices to have emergency telephone numbers at least two years out of date.......
[quote][p][bold]mimseycal[/bold] wrote: Did I read that aright ... did only some of the emergency numbers work? That being the case, of what use is an emergency number that cannot be contacted in an emergency?[/p][/quote]I believe it to be a tradition in council offices to have emergency telephone numbers at least two years out of date....... Theloftyone
  • Score: 4

5:18pm Sat 8 Mar 14

getThisCoalitionOut says...

Well I trust these council members will ensure that the staff involved in locking them in are given a big telling off as this could have been extremely dangerous.

Also they need to check how emergency phone numbers became useless - who allowed that to happen.

They need to make sure council offices are correctly run - which actually is their job isn't it? So maybe they should all sack themselves and get people in who can run council offices efficiently.
Well I trust these council members will ensure that the staff involved in locking them in are given a big telling off as this could have been extremely dangerous. Also they need to check how emergency phone numbers became useless - who allowed that to happen. They need to make sure council offices are correctly run - which actually is their job isn't it? So maybe they should all sack themselves and get people in who can run council offices efficiently. getThisCoalitionOut
  • Score: -2

6:01pm Sat 8 Mar 14

RussellR says...

mimseycal wrote:
Did I read that aright ... did only some of the emergency numbers work? That being the case, of what use is an emergency number that cannot be contacted in an emergency?
Where I worked we had a couple of numbers to call in an emergency - the idea was that at least one would be contactable at any one time. The report does not make it clear what 'Some worked, some did not.' means - it could just be that there was no answer, and as they were presumably able to call one then the system worked.

Also, I doubt that the meeting was forgotten deliberately, so why shouldn't doors be locked outside working hours (Peter Lamb says 'You can’t really keep the doors locked in a building.'). Does he not lock his doors at home?
[quote][p][bold]mimseycal[/bold] wrote: Did I read that aright ... did only some of the emergency numbers work? That being the case, of what use is an emergency number that cannot be contacted in an emergency?[/p][/quote]Where I worked we had a couple of numbers to call in an emergency - the idea was that at least one would be contactable at any one time. The report does not make it clear what 'Some worked, some did not.' means - it could just be that there was no answer, and as they were presumably able to call one then the system worked. Also, I doubt that the meeting was forgotten deliberately, so why shouldn't doors be locked outside working hours (Peter Lamb says 'You can’t really keep the doors locked in a building.'). Does he not lock his doors at home? RussellR
  • Score: 2

6:11pm Sat 8 Mar 14

mimseycal says...

RussellR wrote:
mimseycal wrote:
Did I read that aright ... did only some of the emergency numbers work? That being the case, of what use is an emergency number that cannot be contacted in an emergency?
Where I worked we had a couple of numbers to call in an emergency - the idea was that at least one would be contactable at any one time. The report does not make it clear what 'Some worked, some did not.' means - it could just be that there was no answer, and as they were presumably able to call one then the system worked.

Also, I doubt that the meeting was forgotten deliberately, so why shouldn't doors be locked outside working hours (Peter Lamb says 'You can’t really keep the doors locked in a building.'). Does he not lock his doors at home?
Thank you. Though at the risk of being called a pedant ... you cannot forget something deliberately. You can only ignore something deliberately.

Having said that, 'there could have been a fire' calls aside (for in that case, you smash a window and worry about the consequences later), how can someone with responsibility for a public building forget that there is a group of users still in the building.

I can understand it where someone wandered into the library just before closing time, popped into the lavatory and therefore got overlooked at closing time but really ... a whole group of people who were there holding a pre-booked meeting?

Whilst I accept that it is an oversight, it is an inexcusable oversight.
[quote][p][bold]RussellR[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mimseycal[/bold] wrote: Did I read that aright ... did only some of the emergency numbers work? That being the case, of what use is an emergency number that cannot be contacted in an emergency?[/p][/quote]Where I worked we had a couple of numbers to call in an emergency - the idea was that at least one would be contactable at any one time. The report does not make it clear what 'Some worked, some did not.' means - it could just be that there was no answer, and as they were presumably able to call one then the system worked. Also, I doubt that the meeting was forgotten deliberately, so why shouldn't doors be locked outside working hours (Peter Lamb says 'You can’t really keep the doors locked in a building.'). Does he not lock his doors at home?[/p][/quote]Thank you. Though at the risk of being called a pedant ... you cannot forget something deliberately. You can only ignore something deliberately. Having said that, 'there could have been a fire' calls aside (for in that case, you smash a window and worry about the consequences later), how can someone with responsibility for a public building forget that there is a group of users still in the building. I can understand it where someone wandered into the library just before closing time, popped into the lavatory and therefore got overlooked at closing time but really ... a whole group of people who were there holding a pre-booked meeting? Whilst I accept that it is an oversight, it is an inexcusable oversight. mimseycal
  • Score: 0

7:29pm Sat 8 Mar 14

tinker111 says...

ICantThinkOfAName wrote:
No phones available?
Asleep ????
[quote][p][bold]ICantThinkOfAName[/bold] wrote: No phones available?[/p][/quote]Asleep ???? tinker111
  • Score: 0

9:50pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Levent says...

They should have left the committee locked in there longer, but then they would no doubt have to explain how and why all public amenities suddenly started to work so well!
They should have left the committee locked in there longer, but then they would no doubt have to explain how and why all public amenities suddenly started to work so well! Levent
  • Score: 4

8:02pm Sun 9 Mar 14

ICantThinkOfAName says...

tinker111 wrote:
ICantThinkOfAName wrote:
No phones available?
Asleep ????
Just sleepy!
[quote][p][bold]tinker111[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ICantThinkOfAName[/bold] wrote: No phones available?[/p][/quote]Asleep ????[/p][/quote]Just sleepy! ICantThinkOfAName
  • Score: 0

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