Pendle steps closer to losing facilities

Colne Library.
Colne Library.

Pendle moved a step closer to losing some its most cherished public facilities after Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet gave the nod to £65m. of cuts.

Community centres, children’s centres and libraries across the borough have been identified as being at risk of closure.

Whitehough Outdoor Education Centre.

Whitehough Outdoor Education Centre.

A final decision will be made in February next year.

The county council is currently embarking on the biggest set of cost-cutting measures in its history as it seeks to make millions of pounds of savings in light of government funding cuts.

Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said the council faced “relentless central government cuts” against a backdrop of rising demand for services.

The much-loved Whitehough Educational Centre at Barley – the Camp School – is set to close next August despite a petition to keep it open and criticism that its closures will affect the most vulnerable the council is trying to shield most from the cuts.

Earby Library.

Earby Library.

Other Pendleside services including Barrowford Library, Barrowford Children’s Centre and Wheatley Lane Library are three of 10 under the category of Pendle Hill facing the axe at the budget meeting.

The remaining seven are in the Ribble Valley and eight of the 10 will be closed.

In West Craven, Barnoldswick faces losing either its library or young people’s centre.

The Colne category, which includes Earby and Trawden, faces losing six of the nine services run by County Hall which are Colne Children’s Centre, Colne Library, Colne Young People’s Centre, the Byron View Day Centre, Pendle’s Children and Parental Support Service, Earby Community Centre, Trawden Library, Earby Library and Trawden Young People’s Centre.

However, people in Nelson and Brierfield are set to lose none of the County Hall facilities in the proposed cuts.

Pendle Youth Zone, the Brierfield Family Tree Children’s Centre, Brierfield Library, Nelson Beacon Children’s Centre, the Burnley and Pendle Day Service (Marsden Centre), Nelson Library and Brierfield Young People’s Centre are all set to remain open.

County Coun. Mein said: “The decisions we have taken today are heartbreaking but reflect the unprecedented financial situation we face.

“I didn’t come into politics to cut services.

“But years of relentless central government cuts combined with a rising demand for our services mean that we have to find huge savings.

“Even with these measures we still face a funding gap of nearly £200m. by 2020.”

Other proposals discussed at the county council’s cabinet meeting included:

• Removing funding for all subsidised bus services, to save £7.5m. per year;

• Reducing the county council’s library network from 74 libraries to 34, to save £7m.;

• Ending the funding of five museums: Queen Street Mill, Helmshore, Museum of Lancashire, Judges’ Lodgings, Fleetwood Museum;

• Removing the subsidy for discretionary denominational transport;

• Reducing the Highways budget by £2.8m.;

• Reducing the priority gritting network by 10% and scrapping the secondary gritting network.