MP takes libraries petition straight to Westminster

Mark Menzies at Ansdell library

Mark Menzies at Ansdell library

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Mark Menzies MP has sent a petition of 6,725 signatures to Government, protesting against the closure threat to libraries in Fylde.

With the area set to possibly lose four of its current five libraries in their current form under Lancashire County Council proposals, the document was has already been issued to County Hall as part of the consultation process over the issue.

I believe libraries are the cornerstone for our communities and have been among the county council’s most vocal critics on this issue

Mark Menzies MP

But Mr Menzies says he thought it important Government knows the strength of feeling in Fylde and has now sent the thick document to Culture Secretary Karen Bradley.

He said: “I believe libraries are the cornerstone for our communities and have been among the county council’s most vocal critics on this issue.

“I have previously contacted the Department for Culture, Media and Sport about Lancashire’s plans for libraries and the Minister wrote back to say that they would be examining the situation closely once the consultation process is over and the final proposals are confirmed.

“However, I felt it was important to let the Secretary of State know how local people feel about these plans so I have now sent the whole bundle on to her.

“I have also recently contacted the Local Government Secretary to ask him to examine Lancashire County Council’s methodology for deciding where to cut services as it speaks volumes that Fylde’s libraries are potentially being hit harder than anywhere else while eight out of nine of Preston’s libraries are earmarked to remain open.

“Apparently the reason for this is because the council has chosen to use deprivation statistics .

“Should they have focused on a different indices, such as the population’s age, then I believe the outcome would have been vastly different.

“I would encourage as many people as possible to have their say in the consultation process as I would hope that this is a meaningful dialogue which can bring about changes and these cuts are not a fait accompli.

“While these petitions covered Lytham, Ansdell and Freckleton we should not forgot that Kirkham Library is also earmarked for closure, with only a heavily scaled-down offering in a nearby residential home on the table in a poor attempt to appease local people.”

The consultation process runs until August 12 and residents can have their say via the Lancashire County Council website (www.lancashire.gov.uk) or by asking at their local library.