Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Attack on Ronnie Fearn rebounds

Attacking Ronnie is seldom a good move. Our Tory candidate appears not to have learned that lesson...............

Last week’s letter from Councillor Porter attacking Councillor Lord Ronnie Fearn is typical of what people have come to expect from politicians. That is to divert blame from oneself by attacking others.

What she conveniently fails to mention in her letter is that Lord Fearn, as Cabinet Member for Leisure Services, resolved in July 2009 that “the temporary closure of Southport Library be agreed on the basis that the Leisure Director make continued efforts to find a suitable town centre location for the library prior to closure.” The minutes clearly show that. Perhaps Councillor Porter failed to read them.

The simple fact is that Councillor Porter is the only Southport councillor who voted against providing a temporary town centre library. The voting was so close that had she voted in favour we would now have agreement on using the Market Hall for the near three year closure of our town centre library.

In her letter Councillor Porter claims that to use the (currently vacant) rear of the Market Hall would cost “£500,000 with only £50,000 retrievable as part of their planned refurbishment.” Wrong! All Southport councillors were sent an e-mail on 6 November advising us very clearly that the estimate from officers was a cost of £471,000 with £101,000 retrievable, i.e. a net cost of £370,000. Perhaps Councillor Porter failed to read that e-mail.

Even the figure of £370,000 may well be an over-estimate. For example £230,000 of that total relates to “the heating and lighting requirements of the temporary library”. It is claimed that none of that expenditure is retrievable in the Market Hall refurbishment project. Is that really credible?

For Councillor Porter to suggest, yet again, that the Borough’s mobile library is a solution to the needs of Southport town centre shows how out of touch she is.

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