Fylde coast library bid must be ‘right’

Paul Maynard MP discusses the future of local libraries with Emma Ellison of Thornton Cleveleys Gala Committee
Paul Maynard MP discusses the future of local libraries with Emma Ellison of Thornton Cleveleys Gala Committee

Community organisations have given a cautious welcome to the announcement in principle that they are to be given ownership of Fylde coast libraries by Lancashire County Council.

Thornton Library is to be handed over to the Thornton Cleveleys Gala Committee, while Ansdell Library will be transferred to the Friends of Ansdell Library.

This shows that people power matters

They were among a string of libraries which the County Council announced last year were to close as part of a review of its buildings under budget cuts.

Andrea Kay, who has spearheaded the campaign to re-open both Thornton and Cleveleys libraries, said: “This is down to the hard work of everyone who has been involved but now the devil is in the detail. This has to be the right deal – I want to see what is in the small print.

“I don’t want this to be a white feather, an offering to keep us quiet and I will continue to right for Cleveleys.”

Gala committee chairman Emma Ellison said: “We have an offer in principle, which is a step forward, I suppose, but we are not over the line yet.

“We have to show we can fulfil all their conditions. It really has come out of the blue.”

Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys. said: “I congratulate those who have let the campaign. It demonstrates the power of the community and what effect they can have when a decision which is obviously so wrong has been made. This shows that people power matters.”

Louise McLaren, chairman of the Frineds of Ansdell Library, said: “We are very pleased to hear that we have received the agreement in principle that the library will be transferred to us and that the library building will remain at the heart of the community, but we still believe that the best outcome for the residents of Ansdell is that the County Council continues to provide the library provision.

“Therefore, we are continuing to encourage all residents to write to the Secretary of State regarding the closure of the library as part of LCC’s Property Strategy.”

Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “It is sad that it has taken the threat of a full-blown investigation into the debacle by the Government to force their hand and allow a community group to take over Ansdell Library.”

Mike Kirby, the County Council’s director of corporate commissioning, said: “These decisions will give the groups concerned the commitment they need to take the next steps towards ensuring their organisations have the status and capacity to ensure their proposals are sustainable.”