Macclesfield MP hopefuls and 120 people attend meeting on uncertain future of Bollington Library

By Belinda Ryan - Local Democracy Reporter

4th Jun 2024 | Local News

A still from last Thursday's meeting. (Image - Friends of Bollington Library)
A still from last Thursday's meeting. (Image - Friends of Bollington Library)

About 120 people packed into the Civic Hall at Bollington to discuss how to fight controversial proposals to close the town's library.

Cash-strapped Cheshire East Council has refused to confirm or deny reports it is looking to close four of its libraries to cut costs, including Bollington Library (as reported on by Macclesfield Nub News this time last month).

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) understands libraries at Alderley Edge, Bollington, Disley and Handforth are all under threat of closure from next year and this week the council's environment and communities committee was expected to give the go-ahead to consult the public on the proposals.

That committee meeting has been postponed in the run up to the general election and will now take place in July.

The Friends of Bollington Library (FOBL) meanwhile are taking legal advice to help their fight and have said they will also be contacting the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

The campaigners are also encouraging residents to support the library and its staff.

The library is well used and FOBL say 40 per cent of Bollington's population were registered as members in June 2023.

They want still more to join.

FOBL treasurer Nigel Macartney, said: "If we can get over 50 per cent of residents – and I think we're more or less there now – it's more difficult for the council to argue it's under-used."

Bollington Library provides traditional activities such as physical access to printed material, audio books , children's early learning activities, book groups, family history as well as study and work space.

On top of that it is also a local point of access to council and national services, such as blue badges and bus passes, for Dementia Alliance, access to computers, information and printing facilities and IT help sessions.

It also provides a warm space in winter.

Last month, Cheshire East side-stepped the LDRS' questions about whether closure is on the cards for the four named libraries and, if so, when.

It issued a statement from environment and communities chair Mick Warren (Macclesfield, Ind) saying the 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 council's smaller libraries can be operated in a different way'.

The statement added: "No final decisions have yet been made."

Today the LDRS asked why the committee meeting which should have been held this Thursday had been postponed.

A spokesperson for the council said: "Following the announcement that a general election will be held on 4 July, officers have reviewed the upcoming committee meetings for during the pre-election period.

"The planned papers have also been considered on the basis of their content and likely sensitivity with residents.

"In consultation with the chair, June's environment and communities committee has been moved until after the election and will be held later in July, with a date to be confirmed.

General election candidates in Macclesfield were in attendance at last Thursday's meeting, including David Rutley, Tim Roca, Neil Christian, Dickon Fletcher and Chris Wellavize.

Last month, all seven general election candidates in Macclesfield shared their thoughts on the possible closure of Bollington Library with Macclesfield Nub News.

Macclesfield Nub News understands Cheshire East Council may discuss the future of four threatened Cheshire East Council libraries at the Environment and Communities meeting on July 25.


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