Bollingtonians to fight library closure

Around 120 people went along to the Civic Hall in Bollington to discuss controversial proposals to close the town’s library.

Cash-strapped Cheshire East Council has refused to confirm or deny reports it is looking to close four of its libraries to cut costs.

Alderley Edge, Bollington, Disley and Handforth libraries are all under threat of closure from next year and this week the council’s environment and communities committee was expected to give the go-ahead to consult the public on the proposals.

The Friends of Bollington Library (FOBL) meanwhile are taking legal advice to help their fight  and have said they will also be contacting the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

The campaigners are also encouraging residents to support the library and its staff.

The library is well used and FOBL say 40 per cent of Bollington’s population were registered as members in June 2023.

FOBL treasurer Nigel Macartney, said: “If we can get over 50 per cent of residents – and I think we’re more or less there now – it’s more difficult for the council to argue it’s under-used.”

Bollington Library provides traditional activities such as physical access to printed material, audio books , children’s early learning activities, book groups, family history as well as study and work space.

On top of that it is also a local point of access to council and national services, such as blue badges and bus passes, for Dementia Alliance, access to computers, information and printing facilities and IT help sessions and provides a warm space in winter.

Last month, Cheshire East side-stepped the LDRS’ questions about whether closure is on the cards for the four named libraries and, if so, when.

Councillor Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council’s environment and communities committee

It issued a statement from environment and communities chair Mick Warren (Macclesfield, Ind) saying the committee will consider a report ‘which seeks approval to launch a public consultation on a number of options for library services, including how some of the council’s smaller libraries can be operated in a different way’.

The statement added: “No final decisions have yet been made.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “Following the announcement that a general election will be held on 4 July, officers have reviewed the upcoming committee meetings for during the pre-election period.

“The planned papers have also been considered on the basis of their content and likely sensitivity with residents.

“In consultation with the chair, June’s environment and communities committee has been moved until after the election and will be held later in July, with a date to be confirmed.

“This decision to defer the meeting also considered the fact that the approvals sought within the remaining agenda papers were not time sensitive.”

If profligate Cheshire East Council doesn’t sort itself out, there’ll be nothing left to close and we’ll be lucky if our council tax is even sufficient to cover the council’s wage bill.

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