Good afternoon Mr Heaney,
This is just a short email about the closure of the Balloch Library. I know that you are aware of all of the details.
Margaret Croft is my sister. She is heavily involved in the opposition to this madness. The political pressure and work to publicise the case are good and clear – including your own pieces of course.
My view is that the Labour politicians will try to ride this out. I think however that should a case be accepted for Judicial Review, the project can be stopped or at least paused until proper consultation and impact analyses are completed.
Adequate library provision is a statutory function. Radical changes such as this require consultation and studies of the impact on groups concerned, elderly, disabled, young, vulnerable etc. the consultation and impact analyses should be in the public domain. Absolutely none of this has been done.
I recognise the tricky job that Councillors of all parties and indeed independents do. I am not sure that people give them enough credit. While I think that at heart they are good people, I think that is a strategic mistake on their part. I think however that should this case be accepted …….
There is recent precedent for this approach https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/23790531.glasgow-council-admits-erring-law-wyndford-flats-demolition/
As you will know more than most stopping the abuse of power tends to be quite a big press story. Particularly is it’s a David and Goliath scenario.
I think there is much mileage in this. The problem now is finding a Lawyer. I have asked 2 Law centres (Legal Services Agency and Govan) but neither have the staff time. I was a voluntary Board member and office bearer at Legal Services Agency ( https://lsa.org.uk/ ) for many years.
I am waiting on a reply from a Glasgow legal firm “TC Young”. They carry out a lot of work in social housing (my profession before retired). No reply as yet.
Apologies for the length of the email after saying it was short (!) but finally, my question; do you know any lawyers or legal firms who might assist?
Seven Labour councillors who were part of the majority who voted for the closure of Balloch Library at a special meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council. Left to right: Martin Rooney, Michelle McGinty, David McBride, Clare Steel, June McKay, Gurpreet Singh Sohal and Hazel Sorrell. Picture by Bill Heaney