Lancashire County Council is selling more libraries off

Lancshire County Council is to sell off five more libraries.

Friday, 30th December 2016, 12:53 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:01 pm
Protesters outside Freckleton Library

The news comes ten days after the Post revealed that Fulwood library on Garstang Road had gone on sale with offers invited over £475,000.

Now Lancashire County Council it is to sell Whalley, Freckleton, Bolton-le-Sands, Barrowford and Earby libraries too, in a bid to raise more funds and cut costs.

The news is a further a blow to local campaigners who had fought to keep their local services open.

Council deputy leader and finance spokesman Coun David Borrow said: “We looked into options for community groups to take on responsibility for these buildings, but unfortunately no viable plans came forward, so we’re looking to sell these buildings and bring in additional revenue. We don’t want to be in this position, but we have to make difficult decisions.”

He continued: “We’re faced with a very difficult budget position. In 2020/21 we will have a funding gap of £146m as a result of ongoing government cuts to our budget and rising demand for services. These buildings are the first to go on sale following the county council’s decision to change how we deliver our services, and develop new neighbourhood centres with services designed for local needs.”

He continued: “People will still have good access to good services, whilst allowing the council to deliver some of the huge savings we need to make.”

District councils and the NHS were also asked if they might like to use the surplus properties. A council spokesman said: “These buildings were initially offered to other public sector organisations, to consider if they could use the buildings for their own services.”

The buildings are being sold as part of the council’s new property strategy which is reducing the number of buildings the council owns and rents and changing where some services are accessed. A network of multi-functional neighbourhood centres is being created offering arrange of different services.

Services affected also include children’s services and centres, young people’s centres and older people’s daytime support services.