Village library goes up for sale
Bolton-le-Sands library is being put up for sale by the county council after it failed to find a community group to run it.
Lancashire County Council is selling six former library buildings - Bolton-le-Sands, Barrowford, Earby, Freckleton, Fulwood, and Whalley - as part of its property strategy.
The county council spent £282,895.21 on a complete refurbishment of the building in summer 2015. There will be changes to where some services are delivered in the future, 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 the registration service.
The buildings were initially offered to other public sector organisations.
County Councillor David Borrow, deputy leader of the county council, said: “These buildings are the first to go on sale following the county council’s decision to change how we deliver our services, and develop new neighbourhood centres with services designed for local needs.
“We’re faced with a very difficult budget position.
“In 2020/21 we will have a funding gap of £146m as a result of ongoing government cuts to our budget and rising demand for services.
“We looked into options for community groups to take on responsibility for these buildings, but unfortunately no viable plans came forward, so we’re looking to sell these buildings and bring in additional revenue.
“We don’t want to be in this position, but we have to make difficult decisions.
“People will still have good access to good services, whilst allowing the council to deliver some of the huge savings we need to make.”
In April, Carnforth-based author Robert Swain said the closure of Bolton-le-Sands library was “ridiculous”.
Mr Swain said that the Lancashire County Council should have considered the possibility of its closure before spending £282,895.21 on a complete refurbishment in summer 2015.
Mr Swain, who has penned a number of books including Morecambe Bay Rambles and A Walker’s Guide to the Lancaster Canal, said: “To my mind, it is ridiculous to list Bolton-le-Sands Library for possible closure following such major expenditure. “Surely the possibility of closure should have been considered before authorising refurbishment. “The library is used by many people in various ways besides the borrowing of books, and is somewhat a social centre for the village.”
Find out more about the closure and sale of libraries by following links to ‘changes to our buildings’ at www.lancashire.gov.uk.