Councillors in Southport are seeking to overturn the recent controversial decision to rush towards closing seven local libraries. Just under two weeks ago the controlling Labour Group on Sefton Council voted to approve “Option B” which would shut Ainsdale, Birkdale and Churchtown Libraries together with four others in the rest of Sefton.
Councillor Iain Brodie Browne (pictured above) is the leader of the 20-strong Lib Dem Group on Sefton Council and is one of those fighting the decision. He said: “Local residents are quite rightly appalled at this decision. As councillors representing areas with libraries under threat, we most definitely share those worries.”
Backing the move are Lib Dem councillors Iain Brodie Browne of Birkdale, Haydn Preece of Ainsdale and John Dodd of Churchtown. They are using a special council procedure to “call in” the closure decision by the Bootle Labour-dominated Cabinet.
If Sefton Council’s Scrutiny Committee agree to the “Call In” at their meeting next week then the ruling Cabinet will be forced to reconsider.
“This decision is quite simply wrong. We are particularly concerned that a number of sensible alternatives have been ruled out at this stage – options like community managed libraries and the possibility of greater use of volunteers,” said Cllr Brodie Browne.
“The ruling group on the Council have rushed this decision through without adequate thought and without exploring alternatives. Other local authorities have found much more imaginative solutions. Preserving a comprehensive library network must be a priority and it is worth taking time to get the right decision.”
“When you consider that the current libraries in Southport are some of the busiest in the borough then the idea of closing three of them is completely unacceptable.”
“The existing four Southport libraries had 510,000 book issues between them last year. The four in Bootle made just 190,000 issues. Yet Bootle gets to keep two libraries whereas Southport is cut back to just one. How can that be fair?”
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