Wednesday 30 August 2023

ATUC welcomes new consultation on libraries and pool closures and commends campaigners on this victory

Kirsty Fraser of Save
Bucksburn Swimming
Pool at the May Day Rally
Aberdeen TUC has applauded the victory of the Campaign Groups against the libraries and swimming pools closures in Aberdeen in their legal claim against the City Council. 

Aberdeen City Council’s decision to launch a fresh public consultation on the closures, follows legal negotiations in four petitions for judicial review in the Court of Session.

The consultation is expected to run from early September until Tuesday, 31 October 2023 and campaigners have urged Aberdeen residents to engage with the process to make their views known.

Libraries in Cornhill, Cults, Ferryhill, Garthdee (Kaimhill), Northfield, and Woodside, and Bucksburn Swimming Pool, run by Sport Aberdeen, were closed this Spring as part of moves by the council to make savings of £47 million.

At the time, there was no consultation by the council ahead of the closures, and Equality and Human Rights Impact Assessments were not published on the local authority’s website. This is despite several of the libraries being in some of the city’s most deprived areas, and Bucksburn Swimming Pool served residents from across the north-east of Scotland with additional support needs and mobility issues.

Graeme Farquhar, Aberdeen TUC President, said: "The Aberdeen City Councillors who voted through cuts and closures based on advice and guidance from the Council’s Chief Executive and senior Officers must now hold them to account for this failure to properly and meaningfully consult with the citizens of Aberdeen."

He continued: “The Councillors must ensure that the Chief Executive and the senior Council officers now apologise for this failure and couple it with an assurance that this shameful contempt for the citizens of Aberdeen never happens again. 

"If the Chief executive and senior officers responsible for this mess refuse to do this then Councillors should demand that they resign."

ATUC commended the work of campaign groups Save Aberdeen Libraries and Save Bucksburn Swimming Pool. They have been working with solicitors from the Govan Law Centre and Grampian Community Law Centre on legal challenges against the closures. 

Substantive hearings were due to be heard at the Court of Session in Edinburgh this Autumn, but to stop the action, Aberdeen City Council has offered to run a full formal consultation on the closures and conduct new impact assessments on the closures of each of the six libraries and Bucksburn Swimming Pool. 

You can still sign the petition.