Tory pledge over libraries
That’s the pledge from two Fylde county councillors as libraries at Ansdell, Lytham and Freckleton and a string of others across the county await the fate of their local facilities at a Cabinet meeting today.
Under plans by the ruling Labour group, who won power from the Tories in 2013, more than 100 buildings around Lancashire would no longer be used for county council services and the number of places at which some services are available would reduce.
The proposals would see Lytham, Ansdell and Freckleton libraries among those closed, while Kirkham’s facility would be switched to a new neighbourhood centre nearby. Of the five current Fylde libraries, only St Annes would continue in its current form.
County Coun Tim Ashton, whose Lytham ward covers both the town’s library and that at Ansdell, said: “We would certainly reopen any closed libraries in the event of us regaining control of the County Council but for now, I have to stress that all is not lost and I will be doing everything I can to preserve our libraries.
“I intend to speak at the Cabinet meeting and put the case that there is no need for the libraries to be in this situation. These proposals would take them from universal services to targeted services and that shouldn’t be allowed to happen.”
County Coun Fabian Craig Wilson, whose St Annes South ward covers the town’s library, said: “If May 2017 brings a return to a Conservative-led administration at Lancashire County Council, we have pledged to reopen the libraries that are being closed.
“Also, should a library have been taken over by a voluntary group who wish to continue, then the Conservatives would provide meaningful financial and professional assistance.
“Libraries provide so many services to our communities, including combating social isolation, providing safe places for those with learning disabilities and autism, providing computers to access essential services online for those in need of technical assistance or who do not have computers of their own, and as educational tools for young people to name but a few.
“I feel it is vital to keep libraries at the heart of our communities. If they vanish then we are failing the people we serve.”
Today’s Cabinet meeting in the County Hall council chamber starts at 2pm.