Cabinet to consider further library proposals

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Proposals about the future of two libraries at Adlington and Cleveleys are to be considered by Lancashire County Council's cabinet when it meets on Thursday 14 September.

Plans have already been agreed for the phased reopening of 16 libraries, 11 of which will be run by the county council, and five as independent community libraries.

Adlington Library and Cleveleys Library were among 10 libraries about which decisions had been deferred to allow time for further consideration.

Both libraries had been declared surplus to requirements following decisions taken by the council's previous administration, with Cleveleys Library being closed, however Adlington Library remains open with financial support from Chorley Borough Council, which is in place until 31 March 2018.

A report to the cabinet meeting on Thursday 14 September outlines that the council had been considering proposals to transfer ownership of the two libraries to local groups under the provisions of the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) policy.

However, Friends of Adlington Library who had submitted a detailed application for CAT have now indicated that they would prefer the county council to operate a library service rather than continue with an asset transfer. It is now proposed for Adlington to join those libraries due to reopen between November 2017 and April 2018, bringing the total number of libraries to be run by the county council to 57.

The community organisation UR Potential has submitted a detailed application for the CAT transfer of Cleveleys Library and Children's Centre, where the group proposes to establish an independent community library. Their wider vision is to also make the buildings available for community use, providing opportunities for learning and activities to help reduce social isolation.

The cabinet is being asked to approve the transfer in principal which, should the application progress, would bring the number of independent community libraries in development to six.

County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: "Libraries are a vital service at the heart of our communities, offering free access to books and information, as well as being a place where communities can get together.

"We are grateful to all the voluntary and community groups who have shown such commitment to the library service and its future development.

"There has been uncertainty over the future of Adlington Library and I'm pleased that we will now consider adding it to those to be run by the county council in future.

"The proposals for Cleveleys Library and Children's Centre have the potential to make full use of this site and, as well as providing a community library, develop a wider service for the benefit of the local community.

"If agreed in principle and the project progresses, UR Potential will be supported by the county council to establish the library, and we'll continue to work with them to progress the asset transfer so that people have access to another library which will complement the service operated by the county council."

The county council's package of help to establish community-run libraries includes £5,000 to provide public internet access and cover set-up costs, as well as shelving, an initial supply of books from the county's store, and advice from a dedicated community library manager. When an independent community library becomes operational, the council will also continue to provide support through an annual grant of £1,000 to provide public internet access.

Meanwhile, progress is being made towards deciding the future of Bamber Bridge Library, which had previously been declared surplus by the county council. An application for community asset transfer (CAT) has been received from 1st Bamber Bridge Scout Group to take on the building as their new headquarters. However the county council has now asked the Scouts to consider amending their proposal to include operating an independent community library. The group is due to make a decision whether to proceed with this at their AGM at the end of September. Depending upon the Scouts' decision, the county council's cabinet will then decide in October whether to agree the CAT in principle, or reopen it as part of the county council's library service.

Tagged as: Libraries and Archives

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