Village library is to close

Fence Library.

Fence Library.

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A Pendle village library is set to close its doors at the end of the month.

Wheatley Lane Library, in Fence, has been run by Pendle Council since 2006 when it was earmarked for closure by Lancashire County Council. But, due to cutbacks, bosses at the Town Hall said they are unable to continue funding the facility.

They are currently seeking to transfer ownership of the building from Lancashire County Council to Fence Village Hall Management Committee so it can continue to be used by the community.

Coun. Tony Greaves, chairman of the Transfer of Services and Facilities to Town and Parish Councils Committee, said: “As part of our programme of transferring local services to town and parish councils or local volunteers, Pendle Council consulted Old Laund Booth Parish Council and Fence Village Hall Management Committee.

“They did not wish to replace the Pendle funding, or pursue the option of a volunteer-led library with local funding.

“However, the committee indicated it would be prepared to take over the part of the building the library currently occupies to provide an even better community facility.”

Coun. Brian Newman, who represents Fence and Wheatley Lane on Pendle Council and chairs Old Laund Booth Parish Council, added: “In the current, very difficult circumstances, we think this would be in the best interests of village residents.

“It would mean we could provide a local facility for the community for many years to come.”

County Coun. Marcus Johnstone, Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “Lancashire County Council, like many other authorities, faces an unprecedented financial challenge as a result of relentless cuts in central government funding combined with a rising demand for our services.

“This unfortunately means that we are having to take a number of extremely difficult decisions, including not being able to step in to help Pendle Borough Council to continue to resource the running of Wheatley Lane Library.”

The closure of Wheatley Lane Library is not included in Lancashire County Council’s plans to close 40 libraries as part of its own budget process.