Library sell-off back from the brink

Fulwood Library - no longer for sale
Fulwood Library - no longer for sale
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Campaigners fighting to re-open Fulwood Library can finally celebrate after a move to convert it into offices was formally abandoned this week.

Preston company Turftech International withdrew its planning application from the city council, ending fears by residents that the sale of the building in Garstang Road might be too far down the road to halt.

New County Hall leader Coun Geoff Driver pledged within hours of taking charge last month to reverse the decision by the previous Labour administration to shut around 40 of the county’s libraries.

For thousands who signed a petition to save Fulwood, the Tory intervention came just in time, with contracts about to be exchanged on the sale of the building.

“It’s brilliant news,” said Jane Porter, one of the campaigners who gathered almost 4,000 signatures opposing the closure. “The question now is how long will it be before we can get back to using it as our library. The staff have all gone, the books have all gone and so too have all the shelves.”

Turftech, who had hoped to buy the building for offices, declined to comment on the about-turn.

County Hall chiefs plan to re-open Fulwood “as soon as possible,” along with a number of other libraries across Lancashire.

But so far they do not have an estimate of how long it will take.

Julie Bell, head of LCC’s libraries service, said: “We are currently looking at the practicalities of when it will be possible to reopen each individual library.

“Our intention is to re-open buildings as soon as possible, but there are a number of practical factors to consider, which may include reconnecting utilities, recruiting staff or replacing stock. A report will go to cabinet at the earliest opportunity.”