Lancashire

Lancashire libraries could reopen after closure

woman reading book at library Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption About a third of Lancashire County Council's original 73 libraries were closed down

Fourteen libraries could reopen less than two years after they were closed.

Twenty-six of Lancashire County Council's 73 libraries were shut last year by its previous Labour-dominated cabinet as part of plans to save £65m.

A report by the now Conservative-run authority recommends reopening 14 libraries, nine of which are due to be run by the county council and five by independent groups.

The costs for 2017/18 have been provisionally estimated at £1.7m.

Lancashire County Council said most could reopen between autumn and next spring.

In the run-up to May's local elections, Geoff Driver, leader of the local Conservative group, pledged to reopen libraries in the county.

Image caption A report by Lancashire County Council recommends reopening 14 libraries in the coming year

Six other libraries that were due to be closed will remain open with either a full or reduced service, said county councillor Peter Buckley.

"A significant amount of activity will be needed to reopen the libraries which were closed," he said

This will include building assessments and improvements, staff recruitment and training, reconnecting ICT and other infrastructure, and reallocating book stock, he said.

Mr Buckley added that building surveys were already under way.

Three former libraries will not be reopened after the leases for two buildings had been surrendered and the ownership of one premises was transferred to a school.

The council cabinet will be asked to consider options for providing services in the affected areas.

It will also be asked at a council meeting on 13 July to defer decisions on the future of three other libraries that are currently open and nine that have been closed, to allow for further consideration.

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