Thursday, 10 December 2009

Hilda Ogden-well actress Jean Alexander-supports petition as public voice anger over Southport Library “snub”

Birkdale’s Councillor Richard Hands led an effort on Wednesday night at Southport Town Hall to get the issue of a temporary library referred back to Sefton’s ruling Cabinet. However Conservative and Labour members combined to defeat the Liberal Democrat move.

Richard, together with fellow Lib Dem Councillors David Sumner and Mike Booth, called for the unoccupied part of Southport Market Hall to be used as a temporary library while the £15 million Southport Cultural Centre project is carried out over the next 3 years.

A petition with 5443 signatures on it was presented to the meeting, but was not enough to persuade Conservatives and Labour on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to have a change of heart.

Even the appearance of Southport resident, Jean Alexander (Coronation Street’s Hilda Ogden, pictured at Southport Town Hall with Councillor Lord Ronnie Fearn) was not enough to win the day. As a keen library-user, she told councillors why she was opposed to the idea of Southport having to do without of a town centre library for the next 3 years.

Richard has condemned the decision: “This is a clear snub, both to the 5400 people who have signed our petition so far, but also to the market traders who strongly support the idea and many of whom were there on Wednesday night.”

“If only the Southport councillors from the other parties had backed this call, the issue would already be on its way back to Cabinet to be looked at again.”

“Members of the public who attended the meeting have said very clearly that they thought we won the argument, but that councillors from the Labour and Conservative parties had arrived with their minds made up. They are very angry about the way that some councillors are just not listening to the public on this issue.”

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