Libraries and children’s centres to close
Seven Fylde coast libraries and 14 children’s centres have been earmarked for closure as Lancashire County Council bids to save £200m by 2020.The bombshell recommendation were made in a 1,468-page document released by county officials at shortly before 8pm on the Friday before a Bank Holiday Weekend.The Fylde centres earmarked for being sold off are:Ansdell LibraryFreckleton LibraryKirkham LibraryKirkham Young People’s CentreLower Lane Young People’s CentreLytham Children’s CentreLytham Library and Registration OfficeOrchard Children’s Centre (Freckleton) (designated)Pear Tree Children’s Centre (Kirkham) (designated)And the Wyre centres earmarked for disposal are:Cleveleys Library and Children’s CentreFleetwood Children’s Centre (designated)Garstang Young People’s CentreNorthfleet LibraryOver Wyre Children’s Centre (Hambleton satellite)Over Wyre Children’s Centre (Preesall satellite)Poulton-le-Fylde Children’s CentrePreesall Young People’s CentreRural Wyre Children’s Centre (Garstang) (designated)Thornton LibraryThornton Young People’s CentreThornton Youth Offending Team (Marsh Mill)The county council’s cabinet will be asked to agree revised plans to save millions of pounds, by reducing the number of buildings the council owns and rents, after seeking people’s views during an extensive consultation. Feedback from 7,700 responses has been taken into account in forming the proposals to bring services together to form a network of multi-functional buildings known as Neighbourhood Centres, which would provide a base for a range of different services in one place. The plans, which form part of the council’s property strategy, propose changes to where some services including libraries, children’s services, children’s centres, young people’s centres, youth offending teams, older people’s daytime support services, adult disability day services and registrars are delivered in the future. More than 100 buildings would no longer be used for county council services and the number of places at which some services are available would reduce. The cabinet will also be asked to agree to explore proposals made by a number of community groups and other organisations to take on responsibility for running some of the affected buildings and services. The changes are in response to Lancashire County Council’s need to save £200m by 2020/21 as a result of ongoing government cuts to its budget and rising demand for services. The report to the council’s cabinet published late on Friday outlines changes to the original plans, following a 12-week consultation held from 18 May to 14 August, with a number of revisions to which buildings are being proposed to house future services. County Coun David Borrow, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council and portfolio holder for finance, said: “We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to the consultation – their feedback has been invaluable in helping to shape the final proposals and the Cabinet will be giving the report careful consideration. “Our aim is to find a solution that still gives everyone in Lancashire good access to good services, despite the pressures on the council’s budget. We have done a lot of work to assess where services should be located in future, taking account of things such as geographic spread, accessibility and the needs of different communities. Some of the changes to the proposals reflect what people have told us about the way they access these services. “We’re also keen to continue exploring the potential for other groups and organisations to take on responsibility for some of the affected buildings and services, so we’re grateful for the interest that has been shown in that possibility over the last few months. The report acknowledges that more work will be needed to assess the business cases that have been put forward.” The report also asks councillors to agree plans to explore alternative options for the future delivery of library services, with a focus on examining whether community-run libraries could add to the statutory service provided by the county council. A package of help is proposed to help establish any community-run library, including £5,000 to cover set-up costs, shelving, an initial supply of books from the county’s store, and advice from a dedicated community library development officer.
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