A borough councillor has called on MP Lorely Burt to apologise for what she calls “politically motivated scaremongering” over the controversial move of Shirley Library.
Coun Kate Wild, cabinet member for community services and the environment, has branded some of the claims made about the new library, which is moving into the new Parkgate scheme, as “poppycock.”
The decision to move the library from its current site on Stratford to one of the units at Parkgate has not been a popular one with opposition councillors, who claim many loyal library users will not be able to access the new facility as easily.
This week Coun Wild, (Con, St Alphege), said she wanted to nail some of the scaremongering stories ahead of the library opening next week.
In a letter to the Solihull News, she said: “LibDems and the Greens have consistently sought to undermine efforts to promote anything good for Shirley.
“I call on them all now, including with much sadness the local MP, to do the decent thing and apologise to the people of Shirley for their politically motivated scaremongering.”
She said 86 per cent of the current book stock will be taken to the new library.
“It does not make sense to take books with us which have languished unused on our shelves for over a year,” Coun Wild added.
Opposition councillors, including Ms Burt, were angered last year when a consultation revealed over 80 per cent of those who filled in a questionnaire were against the library move. The results of a telephone poll, however, came out in favour of the move and officers said this part of the survey was more representative of the borough.
“There are 19,141 registered users at Shirley Library yet only 452 people objected to the move. This is less than three per cent of the users at the library,” Coun Wild said.
Spokesman for Lorely Burt, Jack Williams, said: “Whatever smears the Conservatives try to pin on local MP Lorely Burt, the facts are clear.
“The Conservative-run council’s own survey found that 82 per cent of library users wanted Shirley Library to stay where it was.
“By attacking their own consultation Conservative councillors have given the game away – that the process was a sham from the start. The Conservatives say the process has been ‘translucent’ – perhaps a Freudian slip because the word means ‘semi-transparent.”
Coun Howard Allen (Green, Shirley West) added: “The new library is not purpose built, it is a converted shop unit and smaller than the old library at that. Access is far less convenient being further away for most residents with underground rather than surface parking.”