Penwortham library may be keeping its doors open and be turned into a museum.Advertisement
Lancashire County Council has revealed which libraries and community buildings across the county are to be passed into private or community hands.
The county council said it could no longer continue to operate the library in Liverpool Road – along with many others across the city and the county.
But plans lodged by Penwortham Town Council outline how a ‘library theatre incorporation information desk and a small museum’ are part of a ‘well-developed business case’.
The county council closed Penwortham’s library on 30 September but is facing increasing pressure to review its decision.
Wyre and Preston North MP Ben Wallace has made a formal complaint to the government about the county council’s plans and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport says it will be investigating whether the county council has breached its statutory duty.
Up to 49 community buildings in Lancashire may be saved as business cases are lodged to keep their doors open.
ABL Health Limited have lodged proposals for Lostock Hall Library and Childrens Centre, while Penwortham Young People’s Centre has four business cases lodged from Victim’s Support, Penwortham Free Methodist Church, Penwortham Town Council and KTB Music.
Read more: Watch this boy’s response to Fulwood library closure
The county council is offering £5,000 in start-up funding and training for organisations wanting to take on running a community building.
Deputy leader of the county council David Borrow said: “In normal circumstances we would not have been forced to take the decisions we have but the financial challenge we face is anything but normal. Through the property review we have done all we can to ensure that people still have good access to good services while delivering millions of pounds of savings.
“We know that we have strong communities across the county and the willingness of local groups to step up and offer to take over the running of buildings that we no longer need is further proof of that strength. In line with our community asset transfer policy, we need to work with these groups to make sure that we are handing over these valuable assets to groups which have a sustainable business plan that will benefit the local community. I’m pleased that we have taken another step towards making that a reality.
“We have already seen our first success this week as we have reached an agreement with Chorley Council to keep Adlington Library and Children’s Centre open until at least March 2018, to enable community groups there to take over the building’s running in a way that will be sustainable for the long term.”
What do you think about the library closures? Are you involved in any of the plans to keep community buildings open? Let us know in the comments below