Family want library to stay as a town asset

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THE FAMILY of the man who gifted the public library to the people of Arbroath have spoken out against any transfer of ownership of the building.

The library and picture gallery were donated to the town by David Corsar, a factory owner who employed a large local workforce.

He left the library and its contents to the people of Arbroath but now Angus Council are exploring the possibility of transferring the library from Common Good to local authority ownership.

And with the full meeting of Angus Council yesterday (Thursday) discussing the issue of Common Good assets in Arbroath, Colonel Charles Corsar says he has deep concern at Angus Council’s proposal.

Colonel Corsar is the great-great-grandson of David Corsar and has been in contact with Councillor Bob Spink on the issue.

And he believes that the library should stay in the hands of the people of Arbroath like he says his ancestor intended. He explained: “As the great-great-grandson of David Corsar I express my deep concern at the proposal of the director of corporate services of Angus Council to remove the library from Arbroath’s Common Good fund to the council’s general fund.

“This move is based on several misunderstandings on the director’s part. He maintains that it should not have been listed as a Common Good asset in the first place as it was acquired to meet the requirements of the newly adopted Libraries Act of 1898. However, my ancestor donated the library having prospered through his firm David Corsar and Sons, wishing to give something to Arbroath by a way of thanking his workforce.”

In a report that was given to councillors, director of corporate services Colin McMahon puts forward the case for transferring the library to council ownership.

He states: “No trace has been found in archived minutes of Common Good in connection with the library although it has been treated as Common Good property for more than 50 years.

“It is proposed that the library be transferred to neighbourhood services as the department responsible for library provision within Angus.”

The report also reveals that the value of the library as of March 31 this year stood at £836,000 and if the transfer was to take place, Angus Council would stand to save £24,700 a year in renting the building.

At the meeting, councillors were being asked to agree to a public consultation exercise on the proposals, however the report adds that the council will ask for assistance in trying to establish whether the library is a Common Good asset.

Colonel Corsar believes keeping the library in the ownership of Arbroath’s people is what his great great grandfather would have wanted. He added: “The council should consult their archives to ascertain the precise intentions of the donor before going down this preferred route.”

Other sites which the council hope to take ownership of are the offices at Gravesend at 1 Market Place and the Queen’s Drive recreational area.

Assets being proposed to go to the Common Good from the local authority include Elliot Golf Links, Inchcape Park, the Rest Gardens at Cairnie Loan and the Ruxton Memorial at Eradour Gardens.