‘Silence is deafening’ row in library axe controversy

Thornton Library
Thornton Library
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A Wyre MP has demanded answers on the future of Cleveleys and Thornton libraries following separate community bids to save them.

Paul Maynard MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys has written to Lancashire County Council boss, Jo Turton, asking for an update on the two outstanding community bids to rescue the closed libraries for community use.

Thornton Gala Committee has put in a plan to re-open Thornton Library, and UR Potential, a young person’s charity based on the Fylde Coast, has put in a bid to open and run Cleveleys Library.

Both bids have been supported by Coun Andrea Kay who led the battle to save the libraries, leading dozens of primary school pupils on a protest march.

The bids were put in before the closure date for consultation.

But since then neither organisation has heard from the County, despite three libraries in East Lancashire having their community bids agreed and funded.

Mr Maynard, who has asked the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to investigate the county’s decision to shut 28 libraries, said: “The silence is deafening from Labour at County Hall, it’s like they’ll hope we’ll go away so they can sell the buildings commercially and quickly.

“They must know that the outstanding complaint I have in with the Department for Culture Media and Sports has merit and that a public inquiry could be likely, however if they’ve disposed of the buildings they must believe by then they’ll have washed their hands of library provision in our bit of Wyre.

“ Both the Gala Committee and UR Potential’s bids have strengths and for neither to hear back by now is nothing short of disgraceful.

“I just hope they are not playing party politics with our libraries.”

Mr Maynard was highly critical of County Hall over the library closure programme which saw Conservative controlled areas hit hardes.

He hopes the hard work put in by Wyre residents and councillors will not go to waste.

Mr Maynard said: “Coun Andrea Kay, supported by Coun Alan Vincent has worked really hard to provide plans for alternative funding and operating models, but at every turn Labour at County Hall have ignored these pleas.

“ I have now written to the Chief Exectutive and have asked once and for all what is the situation with these community bids, are they going to be accepted or is Labour going to wash their hands of libraries in Thornton and Cleveleys.”

County Hall has made clear each individual bid is being considered on its merits and decisions will be announced once they have been made.

Coun Kay says she has community groups lined up to use both buildings.

Thornton Library closed in August and Cleveleys library shut in October.