THE public SHOULD have been consulted on difficult council budget decisions.
That’s the admission from Nan McFarlane, who says failure to get the people’s views has come at a cost.
But the SNP leader insists her apparent change of view is not in response to Saturday’s protest march.
Mrs McFarlane claimed: “It was always our intention to consult on the big budget issues – but through one thing or another that never happened.
“The situation is getting beyond a joke now and we have to improve our communication with the public.
“The budget proposals for the past two years have been based on efficiencies and have effectively brought the council to a better financial position than it has ever been in, but this good news never reached the people of South Ayrshire because we failed to consult on the more difficult decisions, like Dalmilling golf course, the Gaiety Theatre or Girvan swimming pool.”
And Mrs McFarlane reckons the massive protest only took place because people want to be consulted first.
She insisted: “People weren’t protesting because they want their swimming pool to stay open – they were protesting because they hadn’t been asked for their view.”
But the comments have sparked a furious response from Labour leader John McDowall, who says the council never dreamed of consulting the public.
Mr McDowall proposed an amendment on budget day – to have a two week public consultation on the plans.
He confessed: “They had absolutely no intention of consulting the public on anything. If they had, they’d have gone to communities last year. These comments from Nan MacFarlane are purely and simply a reaction to the protest march. If people hadn’t gone to the streets then I’m quite sure she wouldn’t be saying these things now.”