Cabinet Meeting : 10 June 2009
STATEMENT to OPEN FORUM : 10 June 2009
This is, indeed, a good town in which to live and we should like it to continue to be. Closing or de-staffing 4 branch libraries is not an imaginative way to provide a comprehensive and improving library service, nor an intelligent way to make the £100,000 savings which are sought.
There is much conferring amongst those in positions of influence who purport to be 'helping Swindon'.
What frustrates us most is that you, the Council, and those others do not mean the 'people of Swindon' but, instead yourselves : your officers and councillors.
It is as though there is no direct connection between residents and Council -- as if you are, somewhow, a thing apart from the people: acting in defence against them, rather than in response to their clearly expressed desire and need.
Carefully phrased and intelligent letters from the public, directed to the Lead Member, receive standard replies which ignore their concerns. This illustrates the Members' lack of courtesy to those who take the trouble to write and their lack of interest in the issues they raise.
You, the elected Members and your officers operate within a world which communicates busily with itself -- behind a wall between your citadel and the public who sit outside.
Response from Lead Member for Libraries, Councillor Foley
Councillor Foley said that no decision had ben made on the level of library provision. Consultation is ongoing at Even Swindon and Gorse Hill libraries and at Old Town consultation closed on 5th June. Councillor Foley currently is visiting each library and meeting with councillors and users. Reports and data from consultations will be discussed at the Cabinet Meeting on 22nd July.
Response from Council Leader, Councillor Rod Bluh
Councillor Bluh said he does not believe the Council is as Shirley describes it. For example, Open Forum sessions, like this one, are where she and any other Swindon resident can raise concerns. With regard to correspondence, he said that it would be normal to answer letters with a standard reply, if those letters all referred to the same subject
[The responses are reported here from memory and not from written notes]