Culture Secretary steps in to question library closures

Jane Porter protesting outside County Hall
Jane Porter protesting outside County Hall

The Government has stepped into the row over Lancashire’s controversial plan to shut 21 libraries to save money.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has announced that the matter is now being treated as a formal complaint and has asked the county council to explain its actions.

Ben Wallace, MP for Wyre and Preston North, made representations to the Department for Culture Media and Sport after LCC announced it would be going ahead with its programme of closures.

After hearing that the issue is now being investigated in Whitehall, Mr Wallace said: “All along my concern has been for those communities across the county who will lose their libraries and I’m delighted that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has decided to review this decision.”

County councillors will get another chance to debate the closures - even though some, including Fulwood, have already happened - at Thursday’s meeting of the full council.

Tory group leader Coun Geoff Driver has put down a notice of motion claiming the closures are financially unnecessary.

Fulwood Library campaigner Jane Porter added: “I’m delighted. It doesn’t mean our libraries will re-open, but it is a step in the right direction.”

David Borrow, LCC deputy leader, said: “We have carried out a great deal of detailed work to ensure our proposals fulfil the council’s statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. I’m happy for them to be scrutinised by the Secretary of State.

“The changes we’re making will contribute to huge savings the council needs to make while ensuring people still have good access to library services.”