Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans has invited Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State at The Department of Culture, Media and Sport, to visit Whalley Library, which is under threat of closure.
Following a visit to Whalley Library on Saturday by a high powered delegation which included Mr Evans, together with county councillors: Albert Atkinson and Alan Schofield, borough councillors: Terry Hill and Ged Mirfin and President of the Whalley Lions: Neil Martin, the decision was taken to invite Mrs Bradley to visit the Library in person.
Nigel said: “It is important that the Secretary of State should view the situation on the ground for herself. The recent decision to refer the closure of libraries across Lancashire direct to the Secretary of State, who is ultimately responsible for the provision of library services across England and Wales, will give Karen an opportunity to see what a vital community asset the library is.”
Nigel continued: “Whalley Library should be kept open until at least the County Council Elections in May next year when it is more than likely there will be a change of power when the Conservative Group will reverse the decision to close libraries across the county.
“We already know there is money in the county budget to keep libraries threatened with closure open until at least April 2017. Closing them now is simply a precipitate decision being taken on political grounds by a Labour Group which has it in for Tory controlled rural authorities.”
A similar opinion was expressed by Terry Hill, Ribble Valley Borough Councillor for Whalley. He said: “I welcome the opportunity to show Karen Bradley what a vital community asset the library really is and I know she will examine in detail the comprehensive submissions made as part of the consultation process by Ribble Valley Borough Council.”
Coun. Ged Mirfin added: “While we were sitting in the library on Saturday morning, it was extremely busy with a number of people asking whether they could take out library cards as new users. This placed staff in an extremely difficult position because they have not yet been informed of the closure date. I am pleased that we have taken the decision to get the Secretary of State to look at this decision again.”