MP's anger at extent of cuts in South Fylde
Fylde MP Mark Menzies has hit out at Labour-led Lancashire County Council's plans to close libraries across Fylde.
On Friday, the county council announced proposals to close Lytham, Kirkham, Ansdell and Freckleton Libraries – among others in the county – despite the efforts of local campaigners, councillors and the MP.
The news means the only facility left for the whole of Fylde is in St Annes and Mr Menzies said he was “appalled” at the cuts.
Mr Menzies, who has attended a number of recent events in support of libraries and has written repeatedly to county hall to appeal for a reasoned approach, said: “I have tried to do all I can to make it clear to the county council how important libraries are to the people of Fylde.
“I have also encouraged local people to speak up for their libraries and take part in the consultation process so the county council can make a decision knowing the strength of feeling in support of Fylde’s libraries.
“So to close four out of five libraries locally – and not leave us with a single facility in rural Fylde – is appalling and leads me to believe that this has been a fait accomplis from the start.
“There can be no doubt that the Labour Party has sought to protect areas where it receives more support. In Preston, it seems the only library to be facing closure is Fulwood Library, with eight out of nine facilities avoiding the cull.
“Until now, I have avoided accusations of political bias but the county council has continually attempted to politicise this issue, blaming closures wholly on Government cuts. Meanwhile, a great many other councils, including the Labour-led authority in Blackpool, have managed to avoid closing libraries so this comes down to Lancashire County Council’s priorities.”