Protest march against Moray library cuts planned

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to overturn the controversial decision to axe almost half the libraries in Moray today announced plans for a protest march through the centre of Elgin.

Seven libraries will be closed under the plans. Picture: Johnston Press
Seven libraries will be closed under the plans. Picture: Johnston Press

The “Save our Libraries Moray” campaign has already taken legal advice about seeking a judicial review in the Court of Session to challenge Moray Council’s decision to close the seven libraries at Rothes, Dufftown, Portknockie, Findochty, Cullen, Burghead, Hopeman.

Today the organisers called on the public to back their campaign by joining a protest march through Elgin’s High Street this Saturday.

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They also plan to use the march to highlight growing opposition to council plans to spend over £8million to create a new approach road into Elgin.

Alistair Jeffs, a spokesman for the campaign, said: “The arguments being put forward by the leader of Moray Council are simply not acceptable.

“He insists that the road is required to relieve congestion through Elgin, and yet the Scottish Government is already planning to do that with a bypass around the town as part of the dualling of the Aberdeen to Inverness route.

“At the same time he insists that our libraries must close to save a little over £300,000 a year, ripping out services that are vital to the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

Mr Jeffs claimed: “Libraries are needed now, a new link road is not.

The economics are quite simple. Moray Council go to great lengths to convince us they are listening, going through the motions of expensive consultations before taking decisions that quite simply fly in the face of what the people of Moray actually want them to do.

“That is why we are calling on people from every walk of life and every community to join us in the March for Moray this week. We hope that they will make their feelings known loud and clear to the politicians responsible for these reprehensible decisions.”

The leaders of the council’s administration have argued that the council had no choice but to press ahead with the library closure plans in the face of “frightening budget pressures.” The cuts will save the cash strapped council an estimated £357,000.