Councillors launch motion to reverse library closures

Campaign take their case to the courts.

The SNP group at Moray Council is to table a motion seeking a reversal of the decision to close seven libraries and one mobile library in Moray.

Following the confirmation by Save our Libraries Moray earlier today that they will launch a challenge to the decision in the Court of Session, the main opposition group at the local authority has moved quickly to seek a review of the decision before it goes to court.

Leader of the SNP Group, Councillor Pearl Paul, will table a motion she hopes will be accepted to go before full council later this month.  Councillor Paul had earlier described the decision of the Tory/Independent group as a ‘black day for Moray’ – questioning the competence of the ruling administration for a decision that went against advice from council officials and the recommendations of an Equality Impact Assessment, the main grounds under which the legal challenge is now being launched.

Councillor Paul said: Pearl “I welcome the decision by the campaigners for Moray’s libraries to challenge in court the appalling decision taken by Independent and Tory Councillors to shut seven libraries and halve the mobile library service.

“The SNP vociferously opposed this decision, which has been thoroughly condemned by the communities affected and by many others both near and far.

“The Independent and Tory Councillors seem to have no clue about the range of facilities and services that communities have access to in our libraries and no clue about the damage this short-sighted move will cause.

“With this motion to the next Council meeting we are giving them the opportunity to ditch the closure plans and focus on other savings options that they have so far failed to take forward, despite the Council Leader having now presented a total of six budgets.”

The SNP’s Education Spokesperson, Councillor Mike Shand, added: “The libraries campaigners have the full backing of the SNP and many others against the closure of libraries
in Moray.

“This is the most short-sighted and damaging decision that the Council’s Independent and Tory Councillors have taken and they must use the opportunity presented by the legal challenge to drop these closure plans.

“Recently the Independent Council Convener said he believed ‘the people of Moray value an Independent administration that is free from party diktat’, yet every one of the Independents banded together to close libraries in their own communities. How exactly is that serving their communities?

“There is a clear lack of strategic thinking among the Independent and Tory Councillors, which will cause unnecessary and excessive damage to the services that sit at the heart of our communities in Moray.”

The text of the SNP motion:

Notice of Motion to meeting of The Moray Council on Wednesday 20th November 2013

“In light of the legal challenge being progressed against The Moray Council by the campaigners against the closure of seven libraries; Council agrees to drop plans to close libraries in Moray and negate the decision taken at the Special Meeting of The Moray Council on Wednesday 10 September 2013; that the Council implement the proposal of the Council on 13 February 2013, as set out in paragraph 3.2 of the report, namely the closure of 7 libraries (Burghead, Cullen, Dufftown, Findochty, Hopeman, Portknockie and Rothes) and the withdrawal of 1 of the 2 mobile libraries’.”

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