Support grows for Library to remain in Common Good

THE COUNCILLOR leading the campaign for Arbroath Library to remain in Common Good ownership believes it is unlikely the issue will be brought back to the council before local elections next year.

Bob Spink has long been speaking out against any transfer of the library from the town’s Common Good Fund to Angus Council’s general fund.

The library was gifted to the people of Arbroath by David Corsar, a local factory owner, and high profile figures including Mr Corsar’s great great grandson and Lord Fraser of Carmyllie have given their support to the campaign to maintain the status quo.

At Thursday’s full council meeting, it was agreed that a consultation should be undertaken with members of the public asked to provide any evidence showing that the library either should or should not be part of the Common Good.

But Councillor Spink believes it could be a while before these findings are brought before the council once again.

He said: “I stress that although this is a major step forward in that it sets out the feeling of the community clearly it may not be the end, for the matter will now go out to public consultation asking in particular for reasons why the library should not form part of the Common Good of Arbroath.

“There has been no date set for a report on the result to be brought back to council but it is unlikely to re-surface this side of the elections next May, by which time a whole new team may be in place but hopefully will take up the case should it prove necessary to do so.”

At the meeting last Thursday, all Arbroath councillors agreed that the Library should remain a Common Good asset.

But despite the agreement, Councillors Jim Millar and David Fairweather have both voiced their displeasure at the way the campaign to keep the library in Common Good ownership has been conducted.

Councillor Fairweather explained: “Amid all the drama that has occurred over recent weeks about this report, the fact is that there was cross-party support for an audit of assets belonging to Common Good Funds throughout the county.

“Officers then brought forward a report with the audit result and seeking consultation. Along with other Arbroath councillors, I was not going to support the removal of the library from the Common Good Fund, but neither was I going to inflame the situation for media attention and grandstanding.”

Whilst Jim Millar added: “Although I was happy to support Councillor Spink’s motion, as all Arbroath members did, I cannot help but feel that the intemperate and inflammatory language with accusations of ‘theft’ used in the run up to the debate, accompanied by theatrical hand-wringing and chest beating was utterly unnecessary and little more than electioneering.”

The public consultation on ownership of the library will begin in early October with a probable end date for submissions by the end of the calendar year.

In addition to the consultation being on the Have Your Say section of the council’s website, the consultation process will be publicised in the local media and by means of posters in public buildings in the Arbroath area. The public will be given the opportunity to look at the details of the Common Good audit, which will include sight of the original Arbroath Library disposition and the deed of gift document.