Library and hall closure fears

Photo Emma Mitchell 30.08.16
Bishopbriggs War Memorial Hall
Photo Emma Mitchell 30.08.16 Bishopbriggs War Memorial Hall

Bishopbriggs Library and the town’s War Memorial Hall may both close for THREE MONTHS as part of redesign plans for a community hub.

The town’s community council, which is objecting to East Dunbartonshire Council’s new design proposals, has slammed the possible 
simultaneous closures, saying they are “incredulous”.

Its planning convenor, Margaret McNaughton, said: “With this proposal, the people of Bishopbriggs would have neither a local 
library nor community hall for three months.

“Surely one at a time would permit some transfer of services being maintained throughout the upheaval? The immediate reaction is incredulity.”

The community council wants the council 
to “go back to the drawing board for a proper public 
consultation”.

At a budget meeting a few months ago, Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem councillors voted to change the council’s capital investment programme, slashing the budget for the new hub from £5.6 million down to £2.1 million.

It will now be within the existing library, rather than in a revamped building as was previously planned. Bishopbriggs War Memorial Hall will also undergo a £1.1m internal refurbishment.

Both the community council and Councillor for Bishopbriggs North and Torrance, Anne McNair (SNP), are opposing the plans as they stand.

Councillor McNair also claims there has been “a failure to engage in any meaningful way with the public”.

According to East Dunbartonshire Council, there was a “good response” to a recent drop-in information session on the proposals, which 
attracted 40 people and was one of two public sessions.

But Councillor McNair told the Herald: “I find it bizarre the council is claiming success for two public information events when less than 100 people from the whole of Bishopbriggs attended.”

She added: “Depute Council Leader, Councillor Billy Hendry, has said the council is keen to engage with as many people and community groups as possible.

“As a Bishopbriggs councillor, I have a real concern about the failure to engage in any meaningful way with the town’s wider population.”

She added that, despite 
alterations being made, plans on display in Bishopbriggs Library had failed to be updated for the second meeting.

Ann Davie, Depute Chief Executive - Education, People & Business, said it was “premature” to say both buildings would close at the same time as “the programme for delivery of both projects has not been finalised.”

She added: “Unfortunately there is insufficient land within the council’s ownership to facilitate any meaningful 
extension of the library. A building referred to by the community council at 4 South Crosshill Road is not owned by the council.

“The £2m development will include enhancing the 
library facilities through a full refurbishment and will provide everyone with a state-of-the-art library to be proud of.”

In response to Councillor McNair, she said: “For some time now, council officers have been talking to groups who use the library and the hall to make sure we know their aspirations for the 
new-look buildings”.