North East Wales

Libraries at Brymbo, Gresford and Rhosllannerchrugog under threat

School children with placards
Image caption People from Rhosllannerchrugog made their feelings known before the meeting

The futures of three Wrexham libraries hang in the balance as county borough councillors meet to find ways to make budget savings.

Options include reduced opening hours at 12 libraries but the recommendation is to shut three at Rhosllannerchrugog, Gresford and Brymbo to save £92,000.

Opponents have set up a campaign group and a petition calling for a rethink ahead of the Guildhall meeting.

The council says it faces a £45m budget shortfall over the next five years.

On Tuesday Wrexham's executive board agreed to consult on its wide-ranging cuts programme which it hopes to implement by January 2014.

But it left the fate of the Library and Information Service to be discussed on Wednesday with a report saying "significant financial savings" could be made.

That has angered people in Rhosllannerchrugog where the community council and other residents have united to oppose the closure of their library in order to save more than £55,000 a year.

'Well used'

It had more than 31,000 visitors in 2012-2013, although that is down from a height of 54,000 in 2003-2004.

Rhosllannerchrugog Community Council clerk Wendy Owens said it was an important hub providing access to the internet and a Citizens Advice Bureau‎ among other things.

"It is well used and serves a bigger outlying community," she said.

The community council has already agreed to take over responsibility from the county borough council for Rhosllannerchrugog's community centre, bowling green, public toilets and its six play areas at a cost of up to £35,000 a year.

A report to yesterday's executive board of Wrexham council said it could no longer run such services across the county borough, with 106 play areas among the services under threat.

In Gresford, ward councillor Andrew Bailey said the village library was a "vital service".

He is calling for more time to come up with alternatives to closure, admitting the current location of the library may not be the most suitable.

Brymbo councillor Paul Rogers said visitor numbers for his community library had been increasing since 2010.

"All libraries should be treated fairly," he said.

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