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Date is set for reopening of Thornton Library

Thornton Library which is re-opnening in February
Thornton Library which is re-opnening in February

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard has welcomed the news a date has been set for the opening of Thornton Library and repeated his call for an update on the revival of the Cleveleys branch.

The Four Lane Ends centre will re-open at 9am on Monday, February 26 – more than a year after it was shut, with County Councillor John Shedwick doing the honours.

The Library was closed in 2016 following a decision by then Labour-controlled Lancashire County Council to remove funding after its own budget from central government was slashed.

Following last-year’s local elections, the Conservative group, which took control of County Hall, carried out its promise to reverse the closure.

Mr Maynard said he hoped the re-opened library will become a hub for the community and can help in the Government’s fight against social isolation.

He said: “I am delighted. Libraries are not just about books and learning, they provide a meeting place, an opportunity to socialise and make new friends. The Prime Minister recently made clear the importance of tackling social isolation and I am certain of the vital role the new Thornton library can play."

After the closure, a campaign was launched locally to get the library and its sister at Cleveleys re-opened with various community groups poised to take over if the council could not open the doors once again or had to sell the buildings.

County Councillor Andrea Kay was one of the driving forces locally in fighting to keep the libraries in the community working with both the Thornton Cleveleys Gala Committee and UR Potential to see if a way of taking over operations could be put in place.

She said: "It has been a long hard fight and I want to thank the Friends for their support for the library and the school children from Manor Beach and Northfold schools who marched between the two libraries and were so passionate about it.

"It should never have been closed.

"As Conservatives, we did say we would reopen it and we have kept our promise. I will be looking to see what services we can put back in there for the community. I also want to thank the volunteers and if they come to the opening will be happy to help put together a friends group to work along side the library.

"Cleveleys has not been forgotten and talks and meetings are still going on to work out how we can move forward on that."

Work has been carried out at Thornton to prepare the library for re-opening and County Hall has now revealed the date on which doors will be thrown back open to the public.

Mr Maynard added: “The Conservatives at County Hall have made good on a promise to my constituents. I am keen to hear how plans to re-open the Library in Cleveleys are progressing and I have asked Lancashire County Council to update me as soon as possible.”

The council was working with Blackpool-based community interest company UR Potential on plans to re-open the library at Cleveleys, which was also closed as part of Labour’s cuts package.

Lancashire County Council's cabinet has made the decision to reopen libraries wherever possible. Full council approved an additional £1.654 million to the 2017/18 revenue budget in order to meet the running costs of these re-opening closed libraries. An additional £1.571 million was agreed for necessary building works and associated costs.