The Community and Customer Services (CCS) Committee of Dumfries and Galloway Council have confirmed the opening hours for the new integrated Library, Registration and Customer Service Centres.
Following the budget setting in February, a series of community consultation events were held during March this year to consult communities on the opening hours and range of new services being provided.
The Committee agreed to increases in draft proposals for hours after 4 local communities submitted business cases to increase the opening hours of their local facility. The four communities who had submitted business cases to the Committee were Langholm, Moffat, Whithorn and Wigtown.
Chair of the Community and Customer Services Committee Tom McAughtrie said, "When the budget was set we made clear that contrary to a lot of misinformed comments, no final decision had been made in relation to the hours of the new integrated centres and we had built in flexibility to the budget to look at local circumstances. We have consulted widely and now agreed the hours for the year ahead which are fair and balanced. No one likes to make a decision that reduces any opening hours but I think the silent majority understand that in the real world the council has not only had to make £30 million worth of savings in the last three years due to Government cuts but we have to save a further £27 million in the next three years. Its easy for people to say, don't make savings in certain areas but they are a lot slower to come forward with suggestions on where the savings should be made. You need to be living in a dream world to say the scale of savings we face can be achieved without any impact on services or that some areas should be completely exempt. The fact we have set out a positive direction for our libraries without a single closure, at a time closures are happening across Scotland is a remarkable achievement.”
“What also appears to have been forgotten is that we have integrated libraries and customer services together. This will not only transform the services available to communities but will help secure the long term future of our libraries in the face of the biggest cuts councils have ever faced and hopefully the same level of support for our libraries from some communities will now be directed at those forcing the cuts on the council".
Alongside increasing the library hours for Langholm, the Committee agreed that local community services were to be integrated in a location agreed by the community group responsible for “The Way Forward Project'
After the Committee meeting, Annandale East and Eskdale Councillor Archie Dryburgh said:
“The committee’s decisions have resulted in two positive outcomes for Langholm. When the Labour group took over the leadership of the council, we said we would listen to local people and both of these decisions reflect that commitment. By working with the community group to decide on the new location for the integrated services, we can ensure that the services are in the best location for the people of Langholm.”