Macclesfield MP candidates share their thoughts on potential closure of Bollington Library

By Jamie Griffiths

24th May 2024 | General Election 2024

Bollington Library, of Palmerston Street, Bollington. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)
Bollington Library, of Palmerston Street, Bollington. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

Candidates vying to be Macclesfield's MP in the next general election have shared their thoughts about the potential closure of Bollington Library.

This comes after growing concerns that Bollington Library could close within months.

This could leave the town of over 7000 people without a local library.

A sign in Bollington about the upcoming public meeting.

Recent claims from the Friends of Bollington Library Committee allege that Cheshire East Council is planning to consult the public on proposals to close Bollington Library.

The Friends Group understands it would be from January 1 2025.

This would leave the nearest libraries to be in Macclesfield or Prestbury.

The next UK General Election is set for July 4, with voters from Macclesfield set to take to the polls to vote for who they'd like to be their next MP. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

While the community group has remained tight-lipped regarding the source, and Cheshire East nor confirming or denying, it has been reported across the media and concerned people who want to become Macclesfield's next MP.

As a result, we reached out to every hopeful who wishes to be Macclesfield's next MP - that we know of - for their views on the possibility of the closure of Bollington Library.

These proposals extend to the potential closure of one quarter of Cheshire East's public libraries, affecting at least four towns across the borough, including Bollington. The one in Disley also faces an uncertain future, which is another library in the Macclesfield parliamentary constituency.

Friends of Bollington Librry campaigning outside Bollington Health and Leisure last weekend. A public meeting on the unverified reports of the closure of Bollington Library, is taking place on May 30. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

Macclesfield Nub News contacted each candidate to ask how their campaign would address the potential library closure plan and this is what each had to say about it.

Responses listed in order of when they replied

Amanda Iremonger (Green Party)

Amanda Iremonger, pictured outside Bollington Library.

Amanda Iremonger, the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Macclesfield constituency, said: "As we know, Cheshire East Council consulted earlier this year about library provision. The consultation was poorly conceived with no strategic vision, so I am not surprised that there are proposals to close multiple libraries in Cheshire East, including Bollington and Disley."

"The Council is in a very difficult financial position. Conservative austerity compounded by Council shortsightedness is resulting in poor decision-making. It is time for a change, and this change needs to be radical."

"Closing library buildings and facilities should not result in removal of library services and I call on the Council to ensure that all services provided by Bollington and Disley libraries continue to be available to residents." "I hope all Nub News readers use https://cheshire.overdrive.com to read magazines and books, the same way we read Nub News for local news. For those who prefer physical books and magazines, or the activities libraries offer today, it's time to multi-purpose facilities to make them more convenient for more users, more often, more fairly and more equally."

David Rutley MP (Conservatives)

Macclesfield MP David Rutley released a longer opinion piece about Bollington Library on his website. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

The Conservative candidate and current Macclesfield MP, David Rutley, had this to say about the potential closure of Bollington Library.

"There is strong concern from many local residents in Bollington and Disley about Cheshire East Council's latest proposals to close the libraries in these areas. I am actively campaigning to save them", said David.

"Sadly, libraries across our communities have long been threatened with closure, and I will continue to work to keep them all open. Our libraries play an essential role: offering resources to those both young and old who may not be able to access them elsewhere; providing a calm and peaceful space for residents to benefit from; and delivering key services, such as bus passes and Blue Badges."

"The proposals to close both Bollington and Disley libraries, have been put forward at a time when Cheshire East Council is also planning to close local recycling centres, threatening the future of

leisure centres, as well as introduce car parking charges. As local communities are now facing the withdrawal of several vital services, it is time for Cheshire East Council to demonstrate its commitment to the north-east of the borough, re-think these decisions and take the time to engage more locally to achieve better outcomes."

"I will be attending the public meeting hosted by the Friends of Bollington Library on the evening [6pm] of Thursday May 30 and I would encourage other local residents to come along and show their support."

"I will continue to work alongside community groups, such as the Friends of Bollington Library, Bollington Town Council and Disley Parish Council, to stand up for local residents on this important local issue – our libraries must be saved."

Neil Christian (Liberal Democrats)

Neil Christian, pictured inside Sparrow Park, Macclesfield. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

The Liberal Democrat candidate Neil Christian will fight these proposed library closures.

He said: "Cheshire East Council are suggested to be considering 4 local library closures. These follow a consultation last year that appears to have been ignored by the Labour led Council. These services are valued and important to local communities."

"They provide assistance with education, further learning, and well-being for local residents. Bollington appears again targeted and marked out for cuts. The message is clear, residents want to keep their library, but Cheshire East isn't listening.

"Neil Christian and the Liberal Democrats will be opposing proposed library closures in the Macclesfield Constituency."

Tim Roca (Labour Party)

Tim Roca, out campaigning with Friends of Bollington Library. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

Labour Party candidate Tim Roca met with the Friends of Bollington Library group last week and this is what he had to say about the issue.

"Government funding cuts to local councils mean hundreds of libraries across the country have closed since 2010. I support the campaign to protect our brilliant local libraries, including Bollington.

"They are crucial for so many things from digital inclusion, children's literacy to health and wellbeing. We need government to recognise the value of our local services and fund them properly."

Dickie Fletcher (Social Democratic Party)

Dickie Fletcher is a Bollington Town Councillor. The Town Council sometimes hold meetings at The Civic Hall, which is in the same building located above Bollington Library. (Image - Bollington Town Council)

Dickie Fletcher, who is a Bollington Town Councillor, will be working hard in his position to ensure that the library doesn't get closed.

"The library in Bollington is just one more service that Cheshire East are looking to cut, due to their poor financial management of the Council's budget over the last few years. This is the responsibility of Labour, Conservative & Lib Dem Councillors and sadly the people of Bollington and other towns across Cheshire East are now suffering", said Dickie.

"A Library can transform a person's life. It is transformational for a child, who finds a whole world opens up to them and gives them the confidence to find their calling in life or for an adult who has come to reading late and at last finds the joy and solace of books."

"The library is also a vital community resource, not just as a lender of books. It hosts children's activities to enhance reading & learning, including for under 5s. It provides a reference area for

anyone to study or read, in peace. It is a warm space for those who are struggling with the cold in winter. It promotes adult reading, with confidence building groups and hosts the Dementia Alliance Support Group."

"The library gives the community all those things that you won't see on a spreadsheet. Vital services to vulnerable and less advantaged people of all ages. Valuable Community services that cannot be priced and should not be closed down because Councillors of all political stripes did a poor job themselves."

Christopher Wellavize (Independent)

Christopher Wellavize, pictured at his business Prestbury Plant and Garden. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

Christopher Wellavize, a local businessman and the only independent to be currently standing in the next general election, had this to say about the potential closure of the library.

"My position on all frontline services that the Cheshire East Council provides is that they should be protected and supported as if the council's very existence depended on their successful operation", he said.

"Having said that, it is absurd to have a two-tier service where some services are legally mandated and millions of pounds lavished on them to the glee of private operators and others such as the libraries, recycling centres and roads starved of funds to the dismay of all the residents and tax payers. Bollington library is loved and well used."

"The employees care for the community that they work for and contribute a huge amount to the residents' wellbeing.

"If elected to represent Macclesfield at the general election I will commit myself to campaigning for a fair settlement from central government for our councils, separating out adult social and special needs from their general budget and screaming very loudly if every penny spent by Cheshire East is not spent wisely."

Stephen Broadhurst (Reform Party)

East Macclesfield resident Stephen Broadhurst is running as the Reform Party candidate. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

The Reform Party's first candidate for the Macclesfield constituency, Stephen Broadhurst, had this to say on the issue.

He said: "Continuous cuts in our services, the closure of tips and now threatening Bollington Library are important issues that are never addressed within our Constituency, with potholes and the emptying of road gulleys continuously coming up as our pet peeves time and time again."

The site pictured earlier today. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

Macclesfield Nub News presented this article and the opinions of the MP candidates to Cheshire East Council, who confirmed they had no further comment to make, from when they last provided a quote.

     

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