Council Leader Orders Rethink on Library Transfers

March 24, 2005 4:36 PM
Paul outside Balderstone Library.

Paul outside Balderstone Library.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Paul Rowen has today ordered a rethink on the proposed transfer of Balderstone, Smallbridge and Spotland Libraries. He said:

"The policy of co-locating and closing branch libraries was a policy we inherited from the previous Labour administration. Such a policy resulted in the closure of Sudden Library despite local opposition.

Since the all party administration took over the responsibility for leisure provision has been the responsibility of Cllr. Jacqi Beswick, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.

In our Cabinet meeting in November she put forward a policy of co-locating of many libraries - indeed she urged me to close several despite my own reservations.

When the proposals went out for public consultation for Darnhill she said she was opposed to them even though she had originally proposed them!

Since then we have had Labour Councillors saying they are opposed to proposals which they voted for in Cabinet.

It is the strong view of the Liberal Democrat Group at the moment that we have no confidence in the actions of Councillor Jacqui Beswick, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group. She asks us to support policies in private which she then publicly denies.

That is why I have today decided that enough is enough. The Liberal Democrat Group will not support the move of Libraries from Balderstone, Spotland or Smallbridge. Instead we will be looking for organisations to collocate into our branch libraries. They will not be moving.

We will be considering a vote of no confidence in the Portfolio Holder for Leisure on the grounds of her poor leadership in this area. It puts a serious cloud on the Liberal Democrats working with other parties."