'Bitter disappointment' as Bury set to close 10 libraries

'Bitter disappointment' as Bury set to close 10 libraries

Manchester's Bury Council has voted to close 10 of the borough's 14 libraries.

The council needs to make £2m of cuts by 2020, and council chiefs say the closures will save around £1.4m a year.

The branches to close are in Ainsworth, Brandlesholm, Castle Leisure, Coronation Road, Dumers Lane, Moorside, Topping Fold, Tottington, Unsworth, and Whitefield. Meanwhile, Bury library will remain open along with libraries in Radcliffe, Ramsbottom and Prestwich.

Council leader Rishi Shori said the council is under "huge pressure" to cut costs and that the council will be providing more than its statutory minimum.

“Of the ten libraries set to close the majority are smaller outreach libraries. There will be a main library in four of Bury’s townships. Our statutory minimum is three libraries, but we have managed to save four", Shori said. "Finances are an issue and the council has been under huge pressure to save money, particularly due to the rising costs of social care.”

The 18-month long consultation saw residents decide whether to the council should keep open Bury, Ramsbottom and Prestwich Libraries - the bare minimum requirement - or save Radcliffe Library in addition but at no extra cost so funding would be spread more thinly. 71% of respondents chose to keep Radcliffe open.

Cllr Tim Pickstone, leader of the Lib Dem group, said: "We’re bitterly disappointed that Bury Council is going ahead with closing 10 libraries. It’s great that Radcliffe has been kept open for now, but whole areas of the borough will now be without a local library including the whole of Whitefield and Unsworth and many outlying areas of Bury itself.

"We would have wanted to see a greater use of volunteers and community groups to keep libraries open, which has been done so successfully in so many other parts of the country. As usual Bury’s consultation only asked what they wanted to hear, with residents being asked to ‘choose’ between closing 10 libraries or closing 11 — not much of a choice."