Councillor asked to explain why he ‘misled’ community over Libraries

Hopeman Library – one of seven to be closed.

A community were ‘misled’ by their local councillor over the closure of public libraries in Moray.

That is the claim being made by Save our Libraries Moray after they obtained minutes of a meeting of a Hopeman Community Association meeting made shortly after the closure of seven libraries, including Hopeman, was announced by Moray Council.

Under attack from the group is Heldon & Laich’s Independent councillor, Eric McGillivray. ┬áThe Hopeman-based member has been asked to explain why he told the community association that Libraries were at the bottom of those services the public wished to see cut.

The Council’s own charts produced from the consultation workshops held throughout Moray show that Libraries were given a relatively high priority by the public.

Alistair Jeffs, Chairman of Save our Libraries Moray, said he has already written to Councillor McGillivray asking about the quote attributed to him in the minutes that said “The public process identified the Arts and Libraries at the bottom of the priority list.”

Mr Jeffs said: “We had heard that the advice given by Councillor McGillivray was at best misleading, in that he was telling people they could run their own library.

“Members of the public cannot legally run a library. However, what is of great concern to us is that his comments in these minutes are, quite simply, untrue.

“Moray Council’s own published tables from the series of workshops held to discuss which areas should be cut quite clearly shows that far from being at the bottom of the list Libraries are considered to be of high importance to the people of Moray.

“In fact, Libraries scored higher than Environmental Health, Nurseries, Flood Prevention and a host of other services which are not being subjected to cuts.

“Councillor McGillivray should come forward now and apologise not only for misleading the people of Hopeman but for joining with his Independent and Tory colleagues and running an express train through their own consultation as well as legal advice from officials and a properly conducted Equality Impact Assessment.”

Moray Council’s consultation table can be found at http://www.moray.gov.uk/downloads/file84129.pdf