EXTRA Government cash destined for Swindon should go on saving a park and ride site and the town’s libraries, says an MP.

But a leading councillor said if the coming money was spent on propping up services earmarked for closure it would be nothing more than a stay of execution.

Anne Snelgrove yesterday welcomed £428,873 earmarked for Swindon Council, from the Government’s Local Authority Business Growth Incentives Scheme.

The cash was allocated to councils to help communities in their area cope with the global economic downturn.

Mrs Snelgrove said that Swindon Council should use the money to save Old Town and Walcot libraries and to look at how the Groundwell park and ride site could be kept open.

All were featured in Swindon Council’s budget proposals this week, which recommended scaling back spending by mothballing the park and ride at Groundwell, cutting funding to Swindon Dance, closing Old Town library and changing the operation of Walcot library.

“I was disappointed by the council’s decision to close the Old Town Library and change the operation of Walcot Library at the Budget meeting on Monday,” said Mrs Snelgrove.

“The Labour Group found the money needed to keep the libraries open and fully functional but these proposals were rejected.

“The council now has a second chance to save the libraries, look again at closing the Groundwell Park & Ride site and ensuring the future of Swindon Dance, as possible ways of spending this money.”

But councillor Mark Edwards, Swindon Council cabinet member for resources, said: “None of this stacks up.

“I think that it is a real shame that Anne has said this.

“For us the key message is that in the budget we were looking at the long-term picture for the town.

“If this money was spent on the things that Anne has highlighted, such as libraries and park and ride, it would just delay the problem of their long term futures.

“Next year we would just be back here.

“This money is a one-off – Groundwell needs a long-term sustainable solution – so it will go on one-off expenditure.

“This money has arrived through an incredibly complicated formula and we don’t know when we’ll get it so, for now, we can’t plan spending of it.

“Of course when it arrives we’ll be incredibly appreciative of it – but we cannot run services such as libraries and park and rides on money that we might get.

“I don’t want to sound ungrateful but this extra money has to be spent on appropriate things – and not as a political gimmick.”