Joy as library stays open

Members of the Friends of Ansdell Library celebrate the fact that the library is to stay open
Members of the Friends of Ansdell Library celebrate the fact that the library is to stay open

Ansdell Library is to remain open - and now campaigners across Fylde are waiting to hear about the fate of other branches which have closed.

The Conservative group pledged to reverse library closures if they regained control at County Hall.

After their election success last week, Tory group leader Coun Geoff Driver pledged everything possible would be done to ensure all the libraries closed across the county could reopen.

The Friends of Ansdell Library have now had confirmation from Coun Driver that the facility will remain open, despite having previously been earmarked for closure.

Friends chairman Louise McLaren said: “Very appropriately, we received the good news during a poetry evening, one of the Friends’ regular events. The confirmation that the library was staying open was the final, and most popular, reading of the evening.

”We are delighted and we would like to thank everyone in the community who has played an active role in the campaign to keep the library open.

“Every letter and email written, every event attended and every petition signed has helped to keep the library closures at the forefront of the election campaign. Without the support of the everyone involved, that would not have been possible. We will continue to need volunteers to keep the range of Friends events growing for the future.”

Coun Driver was unavailable to comment on the situation regarding specific Fylde libraries but has said that where community groups have already stepped in to run libraries, they will not be ‘snatched back’ and that discussions will be held to see if they wish to continue and what support is needed.

Freckleton and Lytham Library both closed on September 30 and while Freckleton has been up or sale for some months, hopes have been maintained by campaigners that Lytham Library, in an historic building owned by Fylde Council, could be reopened as a community facility.

Christine Marshall, chairman of the Save Lytham Library Group, said: “We have a meeting next week and are anxious to hear more about how the latest developments at County Hall will affect Lytham Library.”

Brian Willis, chairman of the Friends of Freckleton Library, said: “The library has certrainly been missed and it would be wonderful if it could reopen.

“The Conservatives have pledged in their County Council election manifesto that that will be the case and we look forward to developments.”

At Kirkham, the previous County administration’s plan was to switch the library facility to nearby Milbanke House, with the library building to be taken over as a community hub by Kirkham Town Council and other local parish councils.

Independent County Coun Liz Oades said: “We are keen for that still to be the case and I shall be asking questions about where this change of regime leaves the situation.”