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Councillors reaffirm commitment to secure Culcheth Library’s future

Councillors  have reaffirmed their commitment to securing the future of Culcheth Library and are working with Warrington Borough Council to deliver improvements.

The library was threatened with closure in 2016 when LiveWire opened a consultation on its future.

An initial meeting to discuss the proposals saw more than 100 residents turn up to voice their concerns.

Councillors Matt Smith, Ben Alldred and Jan Davidson, who were present at the meeting, said they understood the strength of feeling and were determined to retain the facility as an essential resource in the village.

Cllr Davidson said: “There has been an exceptional desire by local people to maintain Culcheth Library as a resource for our whole community.

“Over the past few years, it has been heartening to see so many residents organising, supporting and developing the library’s resources and infrastructure.”

Following the closure plans, Cllr Smith invested time to recruit people in the area to form the Culcheth Library Working Group, which later became the Friends of Culcheth Library.

He said: “Local people have done an amazing job, organising and launching events at the library, all of which have proved its value to our community.

“As a result, we were able to successfully lobby LiveWire to extend the library opening hours in 2019, enabling more groups to meet there.

“Following the first Covid-19 lockdown, we accelerated the reopening of the library by three months from the initial proposals. We stand by our commitment to Culcheth Library and now we want to go further.”

Chair of the Friends of Culcheth Library and parish councillor Ben Alldred added: “For the past five years, local councillors have been working with a wide cross section of the community.

“This community focus has helped to shape a positive vision for the future for Culcheth Library.

“We are now working with Warrington Borough Council on plans to refurbish the building, both inside and out.

“We want to deliver a package of improvements to ensure that the library provides a resource for lifelong learning for the foreseeable future.”

Wendy Maisey, Tory council candidate for Culcheth, Glazebury and Croft, has welcomed news that the future of Culcheth Library is looking brighter.

The news comes after the Friends of Culcheth Library announced that they had been in discussions with Warrington Borough Council and LiveWire and that funding had been made available for renovation, modernisation and improvements.

Ms Maisey also paid tribute to the hard work that the friends have put in to save Culcheth Library over a number of years and is now calling on the council to invest more into community facilities.

She said: “I welcome LiveWire’s commitment to investing into Culcheth Library. My colleague Cllr Val Allen had a very productive meeting with LiveWire earlier in the year and put the case forward for more investment in Culcheth Library. Val was given assurances that funding would be made available and I am delighted that has now happened.

“The wider issue is that the council has underfunded community facilities in Culcheth, Glazebury & Croft for too long and the proposed closure of the Community Campus at Culcheth High School is the living proof. Residents need to understand the impact and the bandwidth of the services which are under threat such as outdoor playing fields.

“When I talk to residents they tell me they would like more facilities in the area for all age groups, not the constant threat of closure as we’re seeing with the community services offered at Culcheth High School. It was only a few years ago when the Labour controlled council had plans to close the Library.”

 

Article originally appeared on Warrington Guardian

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