County council has buyer for Fulwood Library

It is the great Lancashire sell-off with two former libraries and prime city centre offices changing hands.

Monday, 13th March 2017, 5:49 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:05 am
Sale: Fulwood Library, Garstang Road

Lancashire County Council has agreed terms for the sale of Fulwood Library and is negotiating to transfer the Museum of Lancashire (MoL), despite local campaigns to save services.

The last few days have seen an unprecedented approval of sales of “family silver” - council property which has been held in public ownership for generations.

In a series of behind closed doors decisions Council deputy leader Coun David Borrow also approved the acceptance of a revised offer on three prime city office properties - Winckley House, 58-60 Guildhall Street and Guild House in Preston, plus the sale of the former Barrowford library.

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All the decisions, which the council says has been forced on them by £685m Government cutbacks since 2010, were the subjects of secret reports - deemed confidential because the reports contained “information relating to the financial or business affairs” of individuals or the council.

Coun Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for cultural services, said: “The Museum of Lancashire is going to a regimental charity - they will be running it in future.”

It is thought it could house regimental collections from across Lancashire - including items from the Fulwood Barracks’ Lancashire Infantry Museum. It’s known a consortium produced a five year business plan and requested financial support.

Coun Johnstone added:“I do know we have offered every item donated to the Museum of Lancashire (MoL) back to the people who donated it.”

Offers above £475,000 were sought for Fulwood library. Coun Borrow said the property sales would release “more money for other things the county council needs to do ... clearly we are implementing the strategy that was agreed by cabinet and council 12 months ago.”

The revised offer for the city centre offices was approved, said a council report, because: “Any delay could risk losing the offer and to demonstrate a firm intention to proceed”

• Councillors have until today to “call in” the library and museum decisions.