Lancashire

Lancashire County Council agrees to hand over three libraries

Crawshawbooth Library Image copyright Google
Image caption Crawshawbooth Library, which was closed by the council, will now be run independently

Three libraries in Lancashire are to be handed over to community organisations, the county council has confirmed.

It comes as the authority, which has previously closed 28 of its 73 libraries, plans to save £65m by 2018.

The council has agreed to support the libraries at Crawshawbooth, Oswaldtwistle and Trawden with £5,000 each and an annual £1,000 grant.

But it has declined applications to hand over former libraries in Earby, Barrowford and Whalley.

Lancashire County Council (LCC) has also agreed that, in principle, an independent community library can be established in Hyndburn at the Arthur Wilson Centre, which is not a council building.

Whitewell Bottom Community Centre and Stoops and Hargher Clough Community Centre will also be handed over to local independent organisations.

Image caption The council also shut Helmshore Mills Museum, which featured in the drama North and South, although it is open for school visits

The council said it had invited proposals from groups interested in taking on full responsibility for council-owned buildings which it no longer needs to benefit the community.

Deputy leader Councillor David Borrow said they had "received 43 business cases for a variety of buildings, and are now in a position to make a decision about some of them".

"Services which are owned and run by the community have a particular value as they can respond flexibly to local needs, and I'm very pleased that we're able to support these proposals which are based on strong business cases."

In September, LCC closed five museums - including Queen Street Mill Museum in Burnley and Helmshore Mills Museum - to save money.

A council spokesman said discussions were continuing on whether they could be run by independent groups.

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