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Independent Councillors Rally To Fight Service Point Closures In Highland

28th February 2014

Photograph of Independent Councillors Rally To Fight Service Point Closures In Highland

Carolyn Wilson, leader of the Independent opposition group on the Highland Council has raaised the stakes in the campaign to save Highland council service points. The SNP led adminstration passed proposals to close 23 service points in Highland at the meeting of the Finance Housing and Resources committee on Wednesday 26th February 2014. Despite many independents giving reasons why this particular budget saving should not go ahead the administration (SNP, Labour, Lib Dems) all agreed to make the closures.

In an open letter to the press Carolyn Wislon said" “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the individuals, groups and community councils who contacted the Independent group at Highland Council supporting us in our efforts to stop the proposed closure of the Service Points.

“At the Finance Housing and Resource Committee yesterday the political members, including Deirdre Mackay, Jamie Stone and George Farlow, all voted to close all the rural service points in Highland, only leaving 12 in larger population areas to serve the entire Highland Council area.

“The Independent Group copied bundles of all the correspondence we received and asked the chairman for a short recess in the meeting for members to consider these hugely important and thought provoking submissions.

“He refused and carried on with the meeting therefore disregarding all the consultation we had carried out.

“Because of the balance of members on the committee we lost the vote; however 25 Independent members have signed a notice of amendment to have this vitally important decision discussed again at the full Highland Council on 13th March giving all 80 councillors an opportunity to influence or change this decision.

“We would ask if you care about keeping the vital and important service points in your area open, please make your views known to your local councillor.

The Independent Group are all supporting the service point being retained, the other councillors in the north who have an opportunity to help us are Linda Munro, Dr Ian Coburn, Roger Saxon, Gail Ross, Neil MacDonald and Ian Renwick.

“By working together to provide all the evidence we can to the council for consideration on the 13th we will do our utmost to change this decision.”

The Council has a network of 35 Service Points, categorised as small, medium or large.

The paper that was debated and which Independent councillor belives has flawed information can be seen at -
http://www.highland.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/6F433539-443D-4202-9B18-E47CE0F91B98/0/Item21FHR4314.pdf

A recording of the debate can be viewed on the Highland council web site at
http://www.highland.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/125208 click to Item 21

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