Three libraries in Pendle set to be closed

Earby Library.
Earby Library.
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Barrowford, Earby and Trawden libraries are set to close when Lancashire County Council makes its final decision.

Barnoldswick Young People’s Centre, Colne Young People’s Centre, Pendleside Children’s Centre in Barrowford and both the Riverside Children’s Centre and the Young People’s Centre in Trawden also face the axe as the County Council, which meets on Tuesday and Thursday, looks to make £200m of savings by 2020.

Brierfield Library.

Brierfield Library.

However, it was not all bad news for libraries in the borough, as Brierfield Library appears to have received a stay of execution.

Councillors who campaigned vociferously for less dramatic cuts to women’s refuges and services for those suffering domestic abuse and who are homeless also look to have secured some future funding.

Although there has been criticism from the Conservatives that the cuts have been politically motivated, the Labour administration at County Hall has defended its actions in the circumstances and said that even though some buildings will close, services will continue to be run from elsewhere.

Lib Dem County Coun. David Whipp said: “The proposals for county council services and buildings in Pendle are as expected. These will be finalised during the county’s coming decision making round, with meetings on Tuesday and Thursday.

“The latest recommendations are good news for New Road Community Centre (in Earby) and Barnoldswick Library and Children’s Centre.

“Facilities in the basement of the Civic Hall are being protected by Barnoldswick Town Council, with the county set to stop renting that part of the building. We need to continue the campaign to retain a library facility in Earby, using New Road as a base.

“The other big battle I’ve been engaged with in recent months is the fight to save women’s refuges, domestic abuse services and accommodation for young homeless people. These are all under threat because of government funding cuts.

“It’s still early days, but the rescue plan myself and county council colleagues have been working on is getting results.

“Recommendations being put forward include providing an extra million pounds to support services such as Pendle’s Safe Space and funding for refuges is also set to continue.

“The Police and Crime Commissioner is due to take the lead on domestic abuse services, with some certainty of continued funding for this vital activity.”

Conservative County Coun. Paul White said: “In some of these cases, such as Barnoldswick Young People’s Centre and Trawden Library, there are positive and exciting plans involving the local community for these buildings.

“What I will say is that this is once again a case of politically motivated cuts. There are to be no cuts in Nelson or Brierfield. There was a plan to close Brierfield Library but this has been scrapped now.

“These areas are represented by the two Labour county councillors, and once again the top bods at County Hall have protected Nelson and Brierfield at the expense of the rest of the borough.”

County Coun. Azhar Ali, a Labour cabinet member at County Hall, said: “From my perspective as a cabinet member, I would say that given the hundreds of millions of pounds of savage cuts from this Conservative government we have done the best we could in keeping services in Pendle.

“Cutting millions from the budget has made life very difficult for local people.

“In terms of children’s centres, we have saved the ones in the most deprived areas. The Family Tree Centre in Brierfield, saved. Walton Lane in Nelson, saved.

“For Pendleside and Trawden young people’s centres, we have outreach services so they will still be provided but from other buildings.

“You look at the big libraries, Barnoldswick, Colne and Nelson, all saved. In Brierfield, there has been interest in it and talks are ongoing about running other services from the library.

“In Trawden, there have been two strong business offers from the community who want the building, and we have said that if there is local interest we can do an asset transfer for £1 and help them with keeping services going.

“In Earby, even though the library is closing, people will come forward and whether it is the parish council or another group, I’m sure we can still create a way for it continuing.”

County Coun. Ali added that there was only Barrowford where no interest had been shown from the local community to see the library continue.