Westerton library may be saved from the axe

Westerton Hall and library'Photo by Emma Mitchell'10/5/13
Westerton Hall and library'Photo by Emma Mitchell'10/5/13

Threatened library closures in East Dunbartonshire may be averted when the council meets to set its budget on Thursday.

This week the authority
will set its full budget after having already announced a council tax increase of 3.95 per cent.

The Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration has proposed extra funds for East Dunbartonshire Leisure Trust, which operates the service. Its board proposed the closure of Westerton, Milton of Campsie and Lenzie libraries late last year.

Westerton is in the Bearsden South ward of joint Council Leaders Vaughan Moody and Andrew Polson.

Councillor Polson (Conservative) said: “Right from the start I stated how important libraries are to local communities and that I did not come into leadership of East Dunbartonshire Council to close or shut vital services.

“It was with urgency that on this issue I and my colleagues were determined to find a solution that would be beneficial to all concerned. I am pleased to announce that a significant portion of the extra £0.5 million pounds council tax raised will be going to keeping our libraries open.”

Councillor Moody (LibDem) added: “This additional funding allows the leisure trust to take time to consult with local library users and staff about the future of libraries including Westerton.

“It was unfortunate that the details of the trust’s proposals were leaked from a private meeting but this allows local people to put forward their views and ideas.”

However, SNP member, Councillor Paul Ferretti said: “It’s a strange statement to say the libraries are saved as although the trust will receive

the means to prevent the closures it is ultimately a decision for the trust to make.

“The administration is claiming this move as a great result for them but ultimately it was the campaigning by the local people such as Milton of Campsie Community Council whose campaigning has been excellent and has been supported fully by the SNP.”

Bearsden SNP MSP Rona Mackay said: “I’m delighted that Westerton, Milton of Campsie and Lenzie libraries will remain open and I commend the public campaigns in each of the areas to protest at these proposed closures. The proposal should never have been brought forward in the first place – libraries are an integral and vital part of every community.

“As for Councillor Moody’s comment about the details of the proposal being leaked, I think the public have a right to know what is being decided about their communities behind closed doors and it’s about time this LibDem/Tory administration learned the meaning of the word transparency.”

Katy Tabatabaeyan, a member of the Save Westerton Library Facebook group, said: “As a resident of Westerton I’m glad to hear of the proposal for extra funding for leisure and culture in East Dunbartonshire. I hope this means the closure of our library can be averted.”