The future of libraries closed in Preston and South Ribble could still involve re-opening and re-stocking the shelves with books.Advertisement
Fulwood, Lostock Hall, Bamber Bridge and Penwortham libraries have been shut by Lancashire County Council as part of a cost-saving drive.
Now the Secretary of State for Culture. Minister and Sport Karen Bradley MP could step in and order a reversal.
In a letter to the county council leader councillor Jennifer Mein the Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson MP says they want additional information before deciding whether to order a full inquiry.
The government was petitioned by Wyre and Preston North MP Ben Wallace, among others, to investigate the library closures under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 – a duty which Mr Wallace and others claim the county council has breached.
The county council rebuff the claim and say they will provide all the information needed to the county council.
Labour leader of the county council Mrs Mein said: “At this stage we will furnish him with all the information he has requested and still have confidence actually we’ve done the right thing. I’m sure they know there are elections in three weeks’ time.”
The Lancashire Conservatives group has made reversing the closure decision on libraries a key manifesto pledge in the upcoming county council elections.
Campaigners have welcomed the latest intervention from the government but they are still sceptical whether a full inquiry will be ordered.
The libraries affected in Preston and South Ribble have now gone on the market – with Fulwood understood to have already been sold. Penwortham has been signed over to the Town Council in the area who are planning to run the existing children’s centre and library as an arts centre and library.
Read more: Why Michael Sheen thinks a political answer could be in Preston
The government says anyone can write to them about the closures and their views.
Ministerial Support Team, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 100 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 2BQ or email email@example.com by 5pm on Friday 9 June. You must include Lancashire Library Services – Minded to Representations in the title.