Library anger, Bishopbriggs Gala, search for RAF pals and Morrisons – Letters to the Editor

Campaigners Protesting outside William Patrick Library against plans to create a community hub at the Library. Photo by Paul Mc Sherry 4th June 2012.
Campaigners Protesting outside William Patrick Library against plans to create a community hub at the Library. Photo by Paul Mc Sherry 4th June 2012.

READERS have their say on the issues which matter – June 20, 2012

Consultation under fire

WHEN Kirkintilloch residents reacted with petition and protest to the publication of the plans for the changes to the William Patrick Library it was belatedly announced that “consultation exercises” would take place.

My own invitation to attend a “consultation” meeting on Wednesday, 6th June, was posted on Friday, 1st June, the beginning of a major holiday weekend, received on the Saturday, 2nd June, when I was away for a few days, and informed me of the date - the first day after the holiday weekend and it was to be held during working hours. I was unable to attend.

The briefing notes issued for this meeting, some of which appear on the council’s website, contain selective and skewed information which could mislead people.

For example “library users” seems to have been confused with “library visits” and East Dunbartonshire displayed unfavourably in a graph which has no provenance, nor any credibility; for instance, one cannot compare a rural area with a large city.

Reducing our branch opening hours and withdrawing our popular mobile service will obviously have had an effect on the number of people visiting the library.

Councillor Geekie’s remarks in last week’s Herald take no account of the eight month long closure of one of our branch libraries in 2009/2010, followed by the unusually extreme weather conditions of the winter of 2010/2011, which brought travel chaos and school disruption. Indeed, the majority of Scottish libraries reported a reduction in visits. A written response has been made to the council and chief executive Mr Cornes about this, and is available from me on request.

In any case these “consultation” exercises and the “consultation” forms now being made available are not meaningful as they are about implementing the plans as they are just now - thus ignoring the LARGE number of people who have made it clear that the proposed reduction in library space is unacceptable, that the William Patrick Library belongs to the town and its integrity must not be compromised.

Over 1,000 people have signed the petition which is ongoing. We are respectfully asking our councillors to take note and reconsider.

Council services have already moved in to the top floor of the library. To proceed further and close the Children’s Department and allocate it a section within the Adult Lending with significant loss of shelving to both, contravenes advice regarding literacy and attainment for our youth.

A look at the plans show that the statement claiming there will be a “modest reduction in floor space for the library section of the hub” is just not true.

Woodilee Village of approximately 700 houses is under construction and, due to the removal of our mobile service last year, the children in Hillhead, Harestanes, Oxgang, Waterside and Twechar are directed to the William Patrick as their nearest library. We should be expanding our library provision there, not reducing it.

Theresa Breslin

(via e-mail)

Gala Day success

AT this time of the year many groups and organisations run events either to raise funds or raise awareness.

Huntershill Village’s Family Fun Day, local primary schools and the Bishopbriggs Cycle Festival will have done this by the time we take a collective sigh and head off on holiday.

Therefore, I am delighted to be able to give an enormous thank you to all of those people who still had the time to ensure that Bishopbriggs Community Council’s Jubilee Gala Day was the best for many years.

Two high profile supporters were Creative Care based at Brackenbrae House, who laid on an excellent tearoom and catered for the large crowd who attended the Gala, and the Fort Theatre, who were able to provide a base for events during the day - literally staging the Gala by providing a stage for the entertainment.

Behind the scenes support came from East Dunbartonshire Council and Cadder Freestone, who provided funding to ensure Bishopbriggs Gala Day was able to expand this year with the successful road closure, which brought a taste of the car-free streets children were able to enjoy in 1952.

Woodhill Primary School have this year nominated three primary 6 pupils as Gala Queen and attendants. They will represent Bishopbriggs Community Council at events such as the Christmas Light Switch on and Remembrance Sunday.

The Gala Queen’s party had their hair styled by Exit Hairdressing, while limousine transport on the day was courtesy of Jonathan Harvey.

Another successful addition to Bishopbriggs Gala Day were the bouncy castles, which were supervised by the young people from the Community Church, who have quite rightly called themselves Am-Bish-ous.

Bishopbriggs Churches Together provided a nostalgic Songs of Praise, which featured many well-known songs.

Also, a word of thanks should go to those people who returned to Brackenbrae House later in the evening to watch the Jubilee Beacon being lit.

And finally, we cannot forget the young entertainers who performed for an appreciative audience. St Matthew’s Jazz Band, Bishopbriggs Ceilidh Band, Zoe Dyer, Carrie Hendry and Mark Curtis proved that Bishopbriggs really does have talent.

Donald Macdonald,

Vice-chairman,

Bishopbriggs Community Council.

Appeal for RAF pals

I AM trying to find some old RAF pals. One person was Jack Mcgoldrick, from Kirkintilloch.

We did teleprinter training at Compton Bassett in 1956 and then we were posted to Ayios Nikolaos, in Cyprus, in November of that year.

We shared a tent with the number A4 painted on the canvas roof.

The other pals were Pete Crook from Fareham, Roger Roscoe from Birmingham and another Pete whose surname I have forgotten.

In 1957 we were all moved to a new block building and once again shared a room.

Unfortunately, in May of 1957 I had to leave them on compassionate grounds and then a home posting due to my father passing away.

I then lost contact with them and would now like to find one of them, so far I have been unsuccessful.

I would be grateful if you could spare a paragraph to print my request.

Jack Mcgoldrick will be about 74-76 and maybe someone in his family might contact me?

He would have been demobbed in May 1958.

My regimental number was 5019614 and I came from Leicester

Brian C White,

162 Apperley Road,

Apperley Bridge,

Bradford.

BD10 9TP

Town centre plans

I COULD not believe it when I heard that proposed new plans for Bishopbriggs Town Centre, which will obviously have a very substantial effect on every resident, whether or not they shop at Morrisons, were put on display in a local church for a period of five and a half hours on one day only, 30th May.

As it happened I had a long standing arrangement to be out of town that week as I’m sure many others had as well, and so I missed seeing the plans.

This involves such major changes to the whole town centre area and beyond, that plans should be exhibited in a public place, such as the library, for a minimum period of, at the very least, 10 days.

Where do East Dunbartonshire Council stand on this matter?

According to this newspaper it would seem that the only people showing any concern are Bishopbriggs Town Team.

Where are our councillors, what do they think?

What does the planning department think of the plans?

As employees of the community, should they not be insisting that such radical plans are placed on public display?

Should this not be enshrined in the law?

If the presentation was anything like the previous one in the Memorial Hall, then I certainly did not miss anything.

Jim Friar,

Laggan Road,

Bishopbriggs.

More ‘spin’ on library

THANKS to the Herald for keeping the debate open on the reduction of library services in the William Patrick Library.

On the council website, it states “petition organisers have been invited to a focus group session...” – readers should be aware that the construction of the new facility is NOT ON THE AGENDA, only the operation of the new hub.

The council states that employees at the library have been involved in developing the new plans. Why then were they forbidden to speak to the press or public prior to the plans being belatedly released (and are still not allowed to discuss the matter)?

The council states that consultation on community hubs and future library facilities began in 2010.

The questionnaires sent out were not given to everyone involved. They were wide ranging and extremely complicated and at no point was locating a hub in any library specifically mentioned, far less reducing space and stock to accommodate one.

Indeed a number of people are keen on a hub in one of the many vacant properties to help regenerate the town centre. Officials stated that: “Detailed plans were made available on May 14 to allow residents the chance to see them.”

Why were they not available before it was decided to close the library for 12 weeks and clear the basement of stock and donations? Indeed why were they not released before the local elections?

Mr Cornes stated at a meeting that these were council decisions.

Why then are some councillors not responding to e-mails and letters?

Mrs Geekie has stated that “members of the public are not clear about what the proposals are”.

More than 1,400 residents who signed a petition are very clear as to what the proposals are and deem them unacceptable!

Mrs Geekie states that “we are creating a library fit for purpose”. Sadly we are greatly diminishing a library and further reducing the service.

She finally states that “we are moving ahead with the creation of the community hub”.

It is clear that she is moving ahead without a clear mandate to do so and against the express wishes of the community she serves.

It is clear that the reduction in floor space on the present ground floor area is very much greater than the 10 percent claimed by Mr Cornes with a corresponding reduction in stock and facilities.

It is not “an exciting new facility”.

The library service has been progressively dismantled because they are an easy target!

There are now no professionally-qualified librarians on the frontline in any East Dunbartonshire library.

There is minimal service to outlying areas since the mobile library has been removed. Staff and opening hours have been reduced.

Significantly, there are no professionally-qualified librarians on the Leisure and Culture Trust.

Council policies with regard to libraries are damaging the community and will have far reaching, long-term consequences for our children’s literacy, aspirations and attainment.

Tom Breslin,

(via e-mail).

Morrisons masterplan

I ATTENDED the Morrisons exhibition of May 30 and have to say that I was less than impressed.

I hold nothing against Morrisons and am sure they are well capable of building an excellent supermarket as they have elsewhere.

It is the sheer size of the building and the fact it will be out of perspective in relation with every other building in the area I find disturbing.

In my view the masterplan, dominated as it is by a monstrous car park – despite being dressed up with lots of greenery and trees, could easily be mistaken for that of an industrial estate rather than the centre of a fine old surburban town.

I learned at the exhibition that the supermarket is expected to attract 30,000 customers per week. We have to wonder why such a size is necessary: the population of Bishopbriggs is only 23,500 including children, so it follows that the new supermarket will have sufficient capacity to supply the entire weekly shopping needs of the town several times over – even if all the other supermarkets in the area closed their doors overnight.

We have to conclude that it is Morrisons’ intention to attract the majority of its customers from outwith Bishopbriggs. I fear the large volume of extra traffic coming in and out will exacerbate the chronic problems of congestion and pollution which have plagued Bishopbriggs for some considerable time.

If anyone is in any doubt about these problems I would suggest a quick walk along Kirkintilloch Road any afternoon. The stench of fumes from the traffic queueing at the multitude of traffic lights can be unbearable. On windless days you can even taste it.

I find it difficult to accept the logic of Morrisons’ Mr. Bakes when he asserts that the ‘footfall’ of their 30,000 customers will be there for the benefit of other traders.

He must be aware that it is the existence of the current Morrisons and the nearby Asda that has led to the demise of the fine shops we once had in Bishopbriggs and sorely miss. I see little attraction for Morrisons shoppers in the town centre unless, of course, they wish to visit a charity shop or place a bet.

The proposed petrol station is a frightening prospect.

In my view Morrisons is a business in a very competative market which is reaching saturation point. To keep their position they are naturally keen to take advantage of this opportunity which has been handed to them on a plate by building the biggest supermarket they possible can on this site.

Unfortunately they do not seem to see the damage they will cause to environment and the way of life of the inhabitants of this town.

Normally loquacious representatives of Morrisons and indeed our own planning department are strangely reluctantant to discuss the subject – especially in relation to pollution, saying only “this is being assessed”.

I am therefore looking to our councillors – who, after all, have engineered us into this depressing situation – to persuade Morrisons to reduce the proposed supermarket to a size nearer that of their existing store and drop the whole idea of a filling station.

I fear that if they fail to do so it will be the children who will suffer as the terrible diseases traffic pollution cause take many years to manifest themselves

H. Smith,

Hillside Drive,

Bishopbriggs.

Library fears

I’M keen on languages - and words make up language.

They have a variety of functions: to describe, to utter polite or rude comments, to state fact, to clarifyn – in a word, to communicate.

A word such as “library” , to take an obvious example, is a very clear word, denoting “a place of books and reading” (from the Latin libri which means “books”). It still conjures up a picture of a place where one can sit and read, contemplate, borrow books – and yes, I remember the time when these places were silent!

On the other hand take a word like “community hub”. Now we enter new territory, because no-one quite knows what that really is . . . and this tactic is often used by those who either want to show off their new vocabulary or be vague about something.

A bit like the innocent-sounding word “consultation”. How Mrs Geekie can move from the definition of a library to a place where we can (apparently) speak to a council rep, pay bills, enjoy what is oddly called a “one-stop-shop” and get queries excitingly dealt with “face to face” beats me and a good few others in Kirkintilloch too.

It would indeed have mystified William Patrick himself who gave us a library, not a council office.

Wait a moment, don’t we already have council offices where we can enjoy, appreciate and fully avail ourselves of one-stop shopping and council banter?

Enough said! It looks like the builders have by now removed our library, but most, if not all of us, wonder what the “new-look library” is going to be like after the helping hand it is so generously being given for improvements.

S. Klimowicz,

Muirside Avenue,

Kirkintilloch.

* Have you got a story, picture or comment? E-mail kirkyherald@jnscotland.co.uk

Alternatively you can call the newsdesk 0141 775 0040, find us on Facebook or visit us on Twitter

Or you can log in below and have you say on the site...