Tory pledge to reopen all county’s shut-down libraries

Photo Neil Cross
The former Fulwood library on Garstang Road, Preston
Photo Neil Cross The former Fulwood library on Garstang Road, Preston
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The new man at the helm of cultural services at County Hall has pledged to re-open all the libraries closed under the previous administration.

Coun Peter Buckley, handed the cabinet job to restore Lancashire’s decimated library service, has promised the Conservatives will honour their election pledge to reverse the closures made by Labour.

Less than 24 hours after taking office Coun Buckley met senior council officials to discuss how the service could be put back together and then announced plans to visit areas where libraries had been closed or were under threat to devise a plan of action.

“We will honour the pledges that we set out in our manifesto,” he said. “I will be visiting libraries and speaking to the people concerned.

“This was a key issue at the election. Some of the communities would like to extend what they want to do with their libraries and so it may not be that we will re-open the libraries exactly as they were. That’s not a u-turn, it’s listening to the community.”

Coun David Howarth, Lib Dem member for Penwortham West, said: “We have a room stacked with books to open a community library in Penwortham and a team of volunteers raring to go. But there is now confusion and some clarity would be welcome.”

New Labour leader Coun Azhar Ali asked which budget was Coun Buckley going to “raid” to pay for it.