Fears Bollington Library could be shut down within months

By Alex Greensmith

7th May 2024 | Local News

Bollington Library was recently subject to reduced opening hours. Now, it could be facing permanent closure. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)
Bollington Library was recently subject to reduced opening hours. Now, it could be facing permanent closure. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

Concerns are growing that Bollington Library could close, leaving the town of over 7000 people without a library.

The recently-formed Friends of Bollington Library Committee claims that Cheshire East Council is planning to consult the public on proposals to close Bollington Library with effect from January 1 2025.

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 proposals are expected to be put before the Council's Environment and Communities Committee on June 6.

Friends of Bollington Library only launched in January 2024, but by January 2025 the Library could close forever. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

Whilst the Friends of Bollington Library were unable to confirm the sources of this, as it was a anonymous tip-off provided in confidence, other media organisations and the Local Democracy Reporting Service has reported the unverified rumours.

Cheshire East Council were contacted by Macclesfield Nub News for comment, asking whether Bollington Library would close for good in January 2025. This was their response:

Councillor Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council's environment and communities committee, said: "The council's adopted medium-term financial strategy (MTFS) for 2024 to 2028 sets out proposals for how the council will balance its budget for the next four years.

"This includes proposals to ensure the ongoing affordability of providing a broad range of library services across Cheshire East, while also making the necessary savings the council must deliver to protect essential services and continue to support those who need help the most.

Cheshire East Council has been contacted for comment. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

"In June, the environment and communities committee will consider a report which seeks approval to launch a public consultation on a number of options for library services, including how some of the councils' smaller libraries can be operated in a different way.

"No final decisions have yet been made.

"Subject to approval by committee, we expect to launch the consultation later in June and will be encouraging people to have their say through this, as well as engaging with community organisations and town and parish councils to explore opportunities for working in partnership to support library services in their local areas." 

The Council's statement did not directly address the unverified reports of a January 2025 Bollington Library closure. However, this hasn't stopped the Friends Group from taking action.

Friends of Bollington Library is a campaign group set up to increase usage of the Library, and spread the message of this potential closure. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

Friends of Bollington Library is an independent body which aims to engage with the Bollington community at large to encourage awareness and use of Bollington Library through events, activities and publicity.

They will achieve this from posting leaflets through doors, to hosting events. Furthermore, there is an active public discussion group on Facebook. Friends of Bollington Library current has over 105 members on the social media website.

The Friends of Bollington Library have informed Macclesfield Nub News that their group will contest the potential Cheshire East plan 'vigorously'.

A spokesperson said in a statement, "We have a campaign plan which will; draw in the entire community of library users in Bollington and the surrounding villages, take the fight to the Cheshire East Council itself, challenge the basis of the proposals, and aim to keep Bollington Library open on its existing hours after January 1."

The possible Library closure would follow a turbulent few months in Bollington, where Cheshire East Council voted to turn the Pool Bank Carpark into a paid one, as well as the uncertain future of Bollington tip. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

The group will run a weekly bulletin online, and hold weekly stalls in a various parts of Bollington such as the Co-op, Pool Bank Carpark, and Bollington Cross. 

Nigel Macartney is Treasurer of the Friends of Bollington Library, which was set up a few months ago after Bollington Library's opening hours were reduced.

"The Friends Group was set up to promote the benefits Bollington Library can bring.

"Beyond books, they provide IT services, you can sort your bus pass here. They even help residents sort voter ID cards for elections.

The Friends Group say Bollington Library lends more children's books per head than any other library in Cheshire East. Macclesfield Nub News was unable to confirm these figures. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

"Cheshire East are ignorant that the public library service is the principal point of contact for most towns with the borough, other than perhaps the bins."

Cheshire East library statistics sent to the Nub reveal 40% of Bollington's population of over 7200 people, are members of the Library.

"We want to get that to 60 per cent. I.E A clear majority that will make it very difficult for the council to say it is a 'minority service'.

You can join online in the library or even reach out to the Friends Group to help join.

There are also unverified reports that libraries in Disley (pictured), Alderley Edge and Handforth could close. (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

"The thought of kids crying over the closure of the library is really upsetting to parents in this town," added Nigel.

Bollington Library has four permanent staff and more come and go from other nearby libraries. Other services offered include newspapers and events for children.

There will be a public meeting at Bollington Civic Hall on Thursday May 30 at 6pm hosted by the Friends of Bollington Library, at which residents will receive advice on how to contest the proposals.

This will be seven days before the Council's alleged June 6 meeting.

Bollington: When was the last time you used your Library? (Image - Macclesfield Nub News)

Jose Spinks, Secretary of the new group said: "I fear 'exploring how smaller libraries can be operated in a different way', is merely code for abandoning the future of local libraries to the goodwill, unpaid labour and purses of local people. Worse still, it implies a willingness to let smaller communities 'go to the wall', following a mere mockery of genuine public consultation.

"Cheshire East is not nurturing but slowly strangling the cultural wellbeing of our communities."

The Friends Group are holding fundraisers in support of the campaign.

The Chair of the Friends Group Committee, Sandy Milsom, said "The Cheshire East proposals are a blow to Bollington but we are determined to fight them and keep the Library open."

As reported by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the murmurs around Library closure comes less than a year after Cllr Warren said, in July: "Unlike some local authorities that have undertaken similar reviews of library services, we have never proposed any full closures of our library sites, but we do also have no choice but to change the way in which we operate our services."

You can find more about Friends of Bollington Library by clicking the red link in this sentence. You can join the Library via this link.

Bollington Library is located at Palmerston St, Bollington, Macclesfield SK10 5JX. (Image - Google)

Bollington Library currently has the opening hours of:

Monday: Closed

Tuesday: 10am-6pm

Wednesday: 10am-5pm

Thursday: 10am-5pm

Friday: 10am-5pm

Saturday: 9.30am-1pm

Sunday: Closed

     

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