MP's campaign against Lancashire library closures

MP's campaign against Lancashire library closures

A Lancashire MP has criticised plans to close 29 libraries in the region and is launching a petition to get the council to “seriously consider” other alternatives.

The council’s current plans will see the libraries in Lancashire reduced from 73 to 44 to help make £200m worth of savings by 2021, the BBC has reported.

In a Facebook post, local Wyre MP Paul Maynard urged the council to look at converting the libraries into not-for-profit social enterprise companies which are often run by existing staff to invest back into their facilities and the wider community.

Maynard said other councils - including those in York and Devon - have done this with “great success”,

The campaign will be spearheaded by Wyre’s councillor Alan Vincent, who said: “I am convinced by becoming a Community Interest Company, our libraries could be saved. Overnight they will save up to 100% on their rates, they won’t be paying towards the mammoth costs of County Hall, and they will be able to use the expertise and dedication of the staff to reach out to a wider range of users."

Maynard said that they will be launching a petition website, calling on local residents across Wyre Borough to sign in and urge the council to hold "meaningful talks" in oder to "seriously consider" the social enterprise model.

However council leader Jenny Mein said cuts by central government meant the plans were necessary.

"These proposals are very difficult ones for councillors to have to consider," she said. "But our aim is to come up with a solution that still gives everyone in Lancashire good access to good services, even though some will have to be further away than they are now."

A 12-week consultation period is due to be underway soon, which will invite comments and suggestions about the proposals, before a final decision is made later this year.