Lancashire County Council to go ahead with library cuts

Lancashire County Council
Image caption The revised recommendations will go before Lancashire County Council's cabinet committee next month

Lancashire County Council is to go ahead with the majority of its plans to close libraries and children's centres after consultation, it has confirmed.

In May, the authority said it wanted to close 29 libraries and 35 children's centres as part of £200m of cuts it needs to make by 2020.

Four under-threat children's centres and Carnforth Library are to get reprieves under revised plans.

Nine women's refuges will be saved with a £1.25m funding boost.

Lancashire County Council said it was using its new prevention and early help fund to enable the refuges to continue as well as providing the same amount to help homeless people with complex needs and £500,000 for crisis support.

However, the county council is cutting funding for sheltered accommodation support in April.

'Imaginative ways'

Following the 12-week consultation plans to make Morecambe a satellite service will now be shelved and it will keep its full library status but the future of libraries in Brierfield, Bacup and Whitworth are still under review.

David Borrow, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council and portfolio holder for finance, said it has tried to "make the best decisions it can" and to "come up with imaginative ways to protect services".

He said: "It is our hope the report going to the cabinet [committee] is a better set of recommendations than [those] that came in May."

The revised report will go before cabinet on 8 September.

The report also urged councillors to explore alternative options for delivering library services such as community-run libraries and the authority is offering community interest groups £5,000 to cover set-up costs.

Chris Brindle - chair of Oswaldtwistle Lamp which hopes to run Oswaldtwistle Library - said: "We're hoping the council will be more responsive to our ideas now.

"We believe there is more than enough support to run it... and enhance it."

On Tuesday, the county council said five Lancashire museums under threat of closure could survive after it received "robust" business plans for their futures.

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