PLANS to shut down Council Shops in Pendle have been slammed by concerned councillors.

Council chiefs are looking at closing the shops operated in Colne, Barnoldswick, Brierfield and Earby to save money.

But a Barnoldswick councillor has hit out at the idea, saying rural towns needed easier access to council services.

The shops provide a point of contact for residents about all the council’s services as well as allowing peiople to pay council tax bills.

Councillors are set to discuss plans to axe the shops, and instead implement a method of payment of bills called Allpay, which would allow residents to pay in post offices and council shops.

Coun Jenny Purcell said: “This is a crazy idea and I am furious about it. I can’t believe they are looking at closing the Council Shops.

“They are important in rural areas and give residents access to some council services without having to travel.

“We are also trying to build up Barnoldswick as a tourist town yet they want to close a service like this down. It is madness and I will be campaigning strongly against it.”

Plans to close the Brierfield and Earby Council Shops were rejected in May, but they are now set to resurface.

Dean Langton, Pendle Council’s chief finance officer, said: “Included in management team’s budget savings proposals for 2012/13 was an option to close both Brierfield and Earby Council Shops.

“This option was rejected by councillors although it was suggested that, had the proposal included an alternative method of collecting payment and delivering the services currently provided from the Council Shops, it may have been considered more favourably.

“Following on from the decision of council, further work has been undertaken to identify what alternative arrangements could be introduced in place of the Council Shops on the basis that the Council would retain only the shop in Nelson Town Centre.”

The closure of the Council Shops would save £145,000 a year. The matter will be discussed at Pendle Council’s executive meeting on Thursday.