Hurry up call in battle to save libraries

Primary school pupils in Cleveleys marched to protest against library closures
Primary school pupils in Cleveleys marched to protest against library closures

A decision should be made on the future of libraries in Lancashire before volunteers walk away.

That is the view of one campaigner who battled to find bids for two community facilities.

Coun Andrea Kay helped submit applications to take over the operation of Thornton and Cleveleys libraries.

The bids, by Thornton Gala Committee and UR Potential respectively, remain with County Hall officials.

But Coun Kay is concerned the clock is ticking and those groups who have been lined up to use the centres could begin to look elsewhere.

She said: “We need answers. They have made a decision on some but it is a drip, drip, drip.

“We have groups lined up not only to take over the libraries but to use them.

“They are going to start to look for other options if there isn’t an answer soon.

Coun David Borrow, whose portfolio includes libraries, said the Thornton and Cleveleys bids would have to wait their turn.

But he hopes to have an answer on all proposals submitted by early spring.

He said: “The initial cut off date for submissions was in August. We have decided on some of the plans put forward at that stage.

“The deadline was then extended and a significant number of proposals were put forward in that period.

“Thornton and Cleveleys were included in that.

“We will get to them all in time. I have a decision making session scheduled every month to consider bids and hope to have reviewed all proposals by the end of March.”

Lancashire County Council shut 28 libraries last year as it looked to make millions of pounds of savings. Three community schemes have already been approved while a number of library buildings have been put up for sale.

Libraries minister Rob Wilson has promised his department will look into Lancashire’s library closures scheme.

He was asked to do so by a number of Lancashire MPs including Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard.