The Balloch community have penned a bombshell open letter to the area’s MP and MSP as the fury over the library rumbles on.

Parents of children at Balloch Primary have pleaded with Martin Docherty-Hughes MP and Jackie Baillie MSP to intervene in the plans to move nearby Balloch Library into the school as West Dunbartonshire Council bid to cut costs and plug a £21m blackhole.

However, the council, who have had sight of the letter, has refuted some claims made in it.

The controversial decision to close the library has caused widespread outrage amongst locals and even saw angry clashes between councillors and the public at a recent meeting that decided the library’s fate.

Now, in a letter sent to the Dumbarton and Vale Reporter, locals described fears that the general public will have direct access to the school, an issue consistently rejected by council officials.

It reads: “The decision to close Balloch Community Library has been taken with absolutely no public consultation.

“Parents of school children were informed on October 5 by Amanda Graham, Chief Officer-Citizen, Culture and Facilities that Balloch Library was ‘relocating to a self-enclosed space in Balloch Campus.’

“She goes on to say that the new space will offer similar facilities to those in the current Balloch Library.

“She does not mention the logistics of finding space in an already overcrowded school campus.

“She states that ‘secure entry to the school will remain in place, as per current arrangements.'

“Parents and carers were alarmed to read that there would need to be a fire exit in the library, so this would be a direct access to the school."

The council pushed back on this claim, stating a new door is to be created to act as an entrance, exit and fire escape.

A spokesperson for WDC said: "As communicated to parents and carers, a standalone entrance is being created and no library users will have access to the school building.

"This new door will be the designated entrance, exit and fire escape."

The letter continued: “It was also mentioned that any classes that the library currently holds would not be able to be held in the library that moves over to the school, so they would have to be held in the school hall.

“Again, a direct access to the school. This should be a huge red warning for anyone.

“This fact is then followed by the contradictory claim that no member of the public will have access to the school.”

WDC again countered this claim by saying the school hall will be used by library users outwith the school day.

The letter goes on to demand to know if a risk assessment has ever been carried out on the new library space within the school campus and rejected council claims that the school is only operating at 69 per cent capacity.

It adds: “The current number of pupils in Balloch Primary is 301. This equates to an 81 per cent capacity. Can you please investigate how Amanda Graham came to her figure of 69 per cent? This figure is misleading.”

Again, WDC rejected this, stating Balloch Primary's capacity was 428, with the current roll of kids reading 298.

The WDC spokesperson added: "School capacity measures how many pupils can be taught in a school based on the number and size of teaching spaces available.

"The library will be located in an area that has never been considered or used as a teaching space and as such it will not impact on school capacity.”

The letter to Mr Docherty-Hughes and Ms Baillie warns the community is ready to go for a “judicial review of the council’s decision” and questioned its lawfulness.

In response to constituents raising concerns about the issue, Jackie Baillie MSP said: “I understand the concerns of parents and carers but I have been assured that this shared campus model has been used successfully throughout Scotland.

"Locally, I am aware that the Haldane barn was situated in Haldane school until the move to the new campus, Dalmonach Nursery has always shared its campus with the community centre and Ladyton Library was in Highdykes school for a significant period of time before it closed.”

Meanwhile, Mr Docherty-Hughes said: “The council's plans to cut local library services in Balloch and across West Dunbartonshire are shocking.

"The Labour administration wants to shut libraries to save money, but they seem to care little about the costs to the community of losing these vital assets.

"Libraries matter - they are hubs of the community, utilised and valued by people of all ages. They're worth fighting for and that's why our local SNP council group is opposing these closures.

"I commend residents for speaking out and fully support the campaign to save our local libraries.

"I'd urge the Labour administration to rethink its ill-conceived plans and carry out a full and proper public consultation."