Eleventh-hour reprieve for libraries?

The launch of the Save Our Library campaign in Burnley (s)

The launch of the Save Our Library campaign in Burnley (s)

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Libraries closed in cost-cutting measures could be reprieved after the Government expressed concerns in Lancashire County Council’s decisions.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley indicated she would order an inquiry following complaints about changes to the county’s library service agreed at a Cabinet meeting in September.

But county council chief executive Jo Turton said she was “disappointed” with the government intervention.

She said: “It is disappointing that the Secretary of State is minded to consider an inquiry into the changes to our library services.

“We have carried out detailed work to ensure our proposals for libraries fulfil the council’s statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. This work included a 12 week public consultation, which received 7,700 responses, and subsequent changes were made to our original proposals after listening to peoples’ views.

“The changes will contribute towards the huge savings the council needs to make, while ensuring that people still have good access to library services through an extensive network. A modern library service is about far more than providing books in buildings.

“We are confident that once the Secretary of State looks at the additional information she will decide that a public inquiry is not needed.”

Four Burnley libraries – Briercliffe, Rosegrove, Pike Hill and Burnley Campus – closed in September after the county council’s cabinet met to approve major cuts to services, reorganisation of others and the closure of more than 100 of its buildings.