VIDEO: Council refuses villagers' offer to paint rundown library

Residents have offered to paint their village library to stop it from going to rack and ruin – but the council says no.

A group of villagers wanted to take matters into their own hands and give the tired-looking Halton Library a lick of paint.

Sarah Birkill offered to paint Halton Library but Lancashire County Council said no due to health and safety reasons.

Sarah Birkill offered to paint Halton Library but Lancashire County Council said no due to health and safety reasons.

But Lancashire County Council said they can’t allow it for health and safety reasons.

The council also told residents it had no plans to carry out its own repairs to the library, which is in the grounds of St Wilfrid’s Primary School.

Paint is peeling off the outside walls and the building’s sign says ‘County Lib’ instead of ‘County Library’ because of missing letters.

Frank Curwood, who has complained to the county council about the state of the library, said: “The library is wooden clad all the way around and it’s deteriorating badly.

Halton resident Frank Curwood outside the decaying library.

Halton resident Frank Curwood outside the decaying library.

“We have contacted the authorities but we don’t get an answer that gives us any satisfaction.

“The librarians and the library service are excellent. But the physical condition of the library is bad and I’m afraid if it goes on much longer the authorities will say ah, it’s that bad, it’s not fit for purpose and they might close it down.”

In a letter to Mr Curwood, the county council wrote: “There are no plans at the moment to carry out any external building works to Halton Library.

“We do appreciate offers from local residents to carry out works but are unable to authorise this due to legislation in relation to health and safety.”

Sarah Birkill, who made the suggestion to paint the building, said: “If it is difficult for the council to arrange the refurbishment I’m sure we could rustle up support in the village to help paint it.”

Steve Lloyd, Libraries, Museums, Culture and Registration Services Manager for Lancashire County Council said: “Unfortunately we’re not able to give permission for people to paint our buildings, as it would leave the council liable in the event of a problem.

“We’ll look into the issues that have been raised regarding the maintenance of the library building.”