Council slammed for lack of ‘meaningful consultation’

Brookwood Library,Bearsden.
Brookwood Library,Bearsden.

The proposed sale of Brookwood Library has been slammed by the SNP group, a community council and an independent councillor.

East Dunbartonshire Council’s ruling administration, which is an alliance of Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative councillors, voted last week to cancel the Brookwood Enterprise Project and push ahead with plans to create a hub at Bearsden Burgh Hall.

They will use revenue from the sale of the buildings to pay for the hub, which will cost over £3 million.

SNP group leader, Ian Mackay, said: “We’ve asked to see the hub proposals for months, it was only last week we discovered that there were eight options considered by the administration in secret. Even after the vote was taken we did not see any of the proposals.

“Councillor Ghai said they were ‘administration options’ and they did not have to show them to anyone else.

“I’m absolutely disgusted by the antics of this secretive administration professing transparency and open and informed decision making to the public whilst making the actual decisions behind closed doors. The decision to sell-off these buildings was made by the administration’s leaders behind closed doors with the remainder of the administration instructed to vote for their decision.

“It’s completely unacceptable that four councillors out of 24 are making decisions to sell-off most of the public buildings in Bearsden, with only one of them representing the people of Bearsden. This is not democracy as anyone would recognise it.”

Independent Councillor Duncan Cumming said: “This lack of meaningful consultation is breathtaking as it involves the sell-off of iconic buildings of Bearsden.

“These ill-conceived proposals will have a lasting effect upon the people of Bearsden and beyond. In effect, the administration is slowly selling off Bearsden’s family silver, until there will be very little left.

“They must remember these properties actually belong to local people not the administration sitting in Kirkintilloch.”

Gordon Cox, chair of Bearsden North Community Council said: “The lack of consultation for this decision is very disappointing.

“Local buildings and services are emotive subjects and changes need to be handled sensitively.

“It is so important to get the best outcome for these very important projects which will endure for generations to come - not just until the next election.

“The buildings are owned by EDC but they actually belong to the local community who should have a say in their future.”

East Dunbartonshire Council leader Rhondda Geekie has defended the decision to sell-off Brookwood Library.

She told the Herald: “The increased investment in the Bearsden hub was in answer to the consultation which wanted hall space retained.

“We had already agreed to invest substantially in Kilmardinny House in Bearsden and wanted to fulfill that commitment. “The administration asked for options for Bearsden hub and agreed to put forward in our paper to council the one which fitted the aspirations of residents whilst providing a hub.

“The opposition are entitled to disagree and that is then the democratic decision of council.

“The decision to reduce the number of buildings we own throughout the council area and invest in those we have was agreed previously.

“This saves revenue whilst improving the remaining buildings. The administration is made up of 14 councillors representing all areas.

“Like previous unanimous decisions the opposition only start objecting when specifics are mentioned but never put forward credible alternatives in these difficult times.”

Brookwood Library offers a wide range of novels and factual books including a children and young people’s section. There is also free internet.