Residents are being urged to make their voices heard as Fylde faces losing four of the area’s five libraries in their current form.
Under cost-cutting proposals by Lancashire County Council, which are set to see the current tally of 73 libraries across the county reduced to 44, Lytham, Ansdell and Freckleton libraries could all be closed, while Kirkham’s library could be switched to a new-style neighbourhood centre nearby.
The plans have sent shock waves through the affected communities – and concerned residents have been busy rallying support to try and do everything they can to make sure what they feel are vital services in their area are preserved.
County Hall’s ruling Cabinet members have stressed that no firm decisions have been made yet and has invited the public to make their feelings known on the issue during a 12-week public consultation.
County Coun Jenny Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council, 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.
“We’re very keen for people to express their views and help shape the final proposals.
“During this comprehensive 12-week consultation, we aim to make sure everyone has the chance to tell us what they think, and the information people need is available at libraries and children’s centres throughout Lancashire and online.”
Fylde MP Mark Menzies has met with members of Fylde Council to discuss a strategy over the County Council proposals.
He said: “The 12-week consultation period over the plans has now started and I have written a letter to outline my concerns that Fylde has been unfairly treated compared to other areas.
“I understand the county council had promised to provide workshops for community groups wishing to take over their local libraries, as well as details of running costs and other essential pieces of information which have not been forthcoming, so I have also written to the authority to urge it to keep to its word.”
Louise McLaren, of the Friends of Ansdell Library, said: “We urge everyone to write to the councillors at LCC to express their feelings about the library closures.
“We have a once in a lifetime chance to try and save our libraries because once they are closed they will never re-open.”