RESIDENTS and councillors have criticised plans to spend money earmarked for their ward on other parts of town.
The Gazette reported yesterday on the political storm created after Labour leader and Brunswick ward councillor Coun Simon Blackburn’s decision to use £20,000 of his ward’s budget to save Grange Park’s Boundary Library – the ward where his partner Gillian Campbell is hoping to win power in the May elections.
Council leader Coun Peter Callow called the move electioneering; Coun Blackburn said it was simply a move to save a service.
But today, Layton councillor Roy Haskett, told The Gazette: “I cannot understand why he has not given Layton Library the money as it is in the neighbouring ward to Brunswick.
“The nearest library to Brunswick Ward is Layton and we would be quite happy if he wants to support nearby libraries. It makes sense to support Layton.
“The people from Brunswick ward would be more inclined to use Layton than Boundary.”
And reaction from residents was mixed with some calling for the money to be kept in the area, and others happy to see a service in Blackpool saved with the cash.
Tracey Jones of Larbreck Avenue said: “Our money is our money. We’ve paid it in and it’s going somewhere else.
“I don’t use that library, but I live here. Noting surprises me with this council anymore.”
Alec Munroe of Dutton Road added: “The money should be used to deal with our area first – 100 per cent.
“It’s the same thing as this country upping the amount of money we give to other countries by 30 per cent and that stinks. We should deal with our own people first.”
And Bryan Archer of Fenton Road said: “Why do we pay taxes if they are to be sent somewhere else? I want to see my money re-invested in the local area.”
Mark Layton of Douglas Avenue said: “They should be spending the money better.
“Why is it in little pots for each area? There should be one big fund and the money spent in the right areas.”
Will Jonson of Layton added: “What annoys me is all the time the councillors spend arguing over this. The money is there – use it for good, to save jobs and help get people educated.”
Not all were in opposition to the move though.
Mary Gough, of Grange Road, said: “Let’s save the library – that’s a good thing.
“It can only be bad if we’re shutting them down. People don’t read enough as it is.”
And her sentiments were shared by Anne Brady of Peter Street. She said: “I use Layton Library, but I’m happy with the money being spent so long as a library stays open and there’s something for the kids to do.
“They should stop spending money on cycle lanes though.”
Coun Blackburn, and fellow Brunswick ward Coun Gary Coleman, have agreed to give £15,000 for children’s books, and £5,000 for adults’ books to Boundary Library.
Council leader Coun Peter Callow said that the move was a blatant attempt to help Miss Campbell win a seat. He said: “He is wanting to boost her chance. It’s blatant electioneering and mis-use of those funds.”
Coun Blackburn said that the move was simply to support the library which many of his constituents use.
He added: “Gillian is my partner. It is no secret.
“All we are doing is responding to a request to support a library book fund and Boundary is a nearby library.”