Friday, July 22, 2016

Swindon Tories Fantastic Fiction 2 - Highworth Library Saved Before Public Survey & Report Written

Swindon's Tories have never let democracy or due council process get in the way of their agenda and it seems the future of Swindon's Libraries is no different.

You'll remember back in May, just before the local elections, a leaflet was circulated in Highworth making all sorts of promises about the retention of Highworth's library. Including that it would stay in the same place and retain paid staff.

Just after those elections (in which the Tories retained control of Swindon Borough Council, including the Blunsdon & Highworth seat), it was repeated by Councillor Maureen Penny (Conservative, Blunsdon & Highworth) that the promises made in the leaflet were absolutely correct and will be seen through. She went one better and said that she had gotten a verbal assurance from Councillor David Renard (Conservative, Haydon Wick & Leader of the Swindon Borough Council) and Councillor Garry Perkins (Conservative, Haydon Wick & Cabinet Member for the Economy, Regeneration, and Skills) that the points made in the leaflet would be seen through and that Councillor Renard had seen the leaflet and stands by it.

But, it wasn't until two months later that the report was published which includes the proposal to retain Highworth Library.

So why and how was Councillor Penny able to get assurances about Highworth Library two full months before the report into the future of the libraries was finished and before the public survey on Swindon Libraries (which was part of the report) had even closed (on the 29th April)?

Councillor Penny's election leaflet has 'April' above the list of library promises alongside a convenient photo of Councillor Penny and Councillor Renard as you can see below :

So why was the council report and public survey prejudged?

I'm sure it's nothing to do with it being a true blue tory seat with lots of white, well-off, retired, middle-class tory voters.

I'm sure if a Labour councillor from Parks had demanded that Park Library was promised to stay open, they would have got the same result.

Sorry, that bit's fantastic fiction.

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