There has been a lot in the local news over the last few weeks about the threatened closure of County Council properties across Lancashire. In Rossendale, like everywhere else in the County, there has been a lot of concern over the buildings which are at risk of being closed, particularly Bacup Library.
Below Alyson Barnes, Rossendale Borough Council Leader and County Councillor, sets out the current position.
“The overriding problem is that the County Council need to reduce the number of buildings they operate out of because the funding they now have to run services is significantly less than it was 5 years ago. The reason some of us point to the Government is because they do not think that councils should do anything other than provide their statutory responsibilities. The problem with that idea is that many things are not statutory but still need doing – winter gritting; street lighting; economic development work, children centres; supporting carers are non statutory activity but still need doing. In two years time the County Council may not be able to set a budget so they need to reduce their spending.
One of the reasons they have suggested that Bacup Library can shut is because there is another Lancashire County Council building in the area – the Maden centre. There isn’t a building that Rawtenstall or Haslingden Libraries can be moved into in those towns. So that is some of the thinking that lies behind this suggestion.
Myself and my fellow Rossendale County Councillors do not agree with this proposal, in part because the Borough Council is trying to focus on our town centres and improve them. In Bacup the Town Heritage Initiative scheme will deliver tangible results in the town, granted it will not sort out all of the issues that exist in the town but it is a start in trying to address some of the concerns local residents have. Leaving another significant building empty in the town cuts across what the Borough Council are trying to do.
We are now subject to a 12 week consultation, during that time the County Councillors will work closely with the Borough Council to try and find another solution to this issue, we clearly can not make any promises but we will make sure that we examine any and all possibilities as the very last thing anyone wants to see is the loss of this valued and much loved service.
If you want to speak to your elected borough members, details can be found in the Your Team section of this website. Your Labour County Councillors can also be contacted via email or via this website: alyson.barnes@
Please respond to the consultation if you can, the more comments the County Council get the better equipped they will be to make the right decision”