A library and two children’s centres in Preston are to be closed as part of a multi-million pound scaling back by the county council.Advertisement
Fulwood library, Preston East Children’s Centre and St Lawrence Children’s Centre may all be mothballed to save Lancashire County Council money.
A consultation period will run for 12 weeks on the proposals, which would see the number of libraries in Lancashire cut from 73 to 44.
In South Ribble, Bamber Bridge, Penwortham and Lostock Hall libraries are to close.
The Longton, Kingsfold, Bamber Bridge and Lostock Hall children’s centres may shut. And the Penwortham Young People’s Centre is also threatened.
The county council has to save £200m by 2020, saying this is due to a reduction in its grant from central government. It says shutting the 106 buildings in its portfolio review could save up to £2m per year.
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Leader of the county council County councillor Jenny Mein said: “The severity of the county council’s financial position cannot be overstated, and the ongoing cuts in central government funding combined with rising demand for our services mean the only way we can maintain the services that people rely on is to deliver them in a different way.
“I’m acutely aware that people have a very strong connection to their local services, particularly places like libraries which are often seen as a valuable part of the community.
“These proposals are very difficult ones for councillors to have to consider, 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.
“The fact we’re considering as many as 238 buildings in this process reflects the way services have developed over several decades when the council had more money to spend. We really need to think about where services are most needed and how we can reduce the costs that come with running so many premises. Our reduced need for buildings also reflects that we’ve already had to significantly reduce the budget for many services.
“The Cabinet report reflects a lot of hard work to assess where services should be located, taking account of things such as geographic spread, the needs of different communities, and access issues such as public transport and car parking.
“Following the Cabinet meeting we intend to put these plans out to consultation and we’ll be very keen for people to express their views and help shape the final proposals.”
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A report to the cabinet says the sale of the buildings could raise anywhere from £8-11million.
Part of the county council’s plan includes introducing seven ‘satellite libraries’ which it says will be self-service kiosks.
Proposals for the closure of the libraries and other community buildings are to be discussed on Tuesday 10 May at the county council’s executive meeting.
You can view the full portfolio review on the county council website.
What do you think of the plans? Do you live near any of these buildings? Let us know your views in the comments below