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Council Working Group to Fight Proposed Closures

Published Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Borough councillors in Ribble Valley have formed a working group to fight the proposed closure of several libraries and children’s centres.

Lancashire County Council is proposing to reduce its building stock and amalgamate services in new ‘neighbourhood centres’ in a bid to find savings of £200million over the next five years.

The centres will be based at several sites, including at Clitheroe and Longridge Libraries.

But the move will see the closure of other sites, including Whalley, Chatburn and Read Libraries, and children’s centres at Longridge, Slaidburn and Spring Wood, which is based at Whalley Library.

Ribble Valley Borough Council has set up the working group to consider how the proposals will affect the borough, particularly the proposed closures of Whalley Library and Longridge Children’s Centre.

Whalley has been the subject of a house-building boom, which will see the village and nearby Barrow double in size with over 1,000 additional properties in the next five years.

The group’s chairman, Terry Hill, said: “Community hubs such as libraries and children’s centres are vital in rural areas like Ribble Valley, where access to services is poor.

“The county council’s proposals don’t take into account the part these sites play in rural life and we feel they are particularly mistaken in not recognising Whalley as a service centre, a designation they made in 2001 and endorsed by the Ribble Valley Core Strategy.

“We are gathering the facts and will be making a strong case to the county council for the retention of some if not all of the facilities under threat in Ribble Valley.”

The consultation runs until Sunday, 14 August and Ribble Valley residents can also have their say at lancashire.gov.uk.

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