THE first step in bringing a village library back into public use has been put in motion.

The Lancaster Foundation submitted a bid to purchase the building in Whalley with the aim of giving it back to the community.

The organisation is working with the Save Whalley Library Action Group on the project with the aim of leasing it back to the community for a peppercorn rent.

Chris Richardson, from the foundation said: “The Lancaster family are very sympathetic to the Whalley residents following the library closure and see the potential of a thriving community hub being created to benefit many.

“Whalley is undergoing much growth and change and we see this potential community meeting space as a real benefit to the locals.

“We are already encouraged by the strength of public support.”

The news comes as Lancashire County Council leader Cllr Jennifer Mein was asked to answer 19 questions about the processes the authority took in reaching the decision to close a number of libraries across the region, including Whalley and Trawden.

That came after concerns were raised in a letter from the minister for civil society, Rob Wilson, to secretary of state for culture, media and sport Karen Bradley.

If the Government is unhappy with the response it could order a special inquiry. That could then see closure decisions reversed.

The action group is asking anyone with experience in running community interest ventures, including those with specialist knowledge of running libraries, who can help put together a self-sustaining business plan to come forward.

It is believed more than 100 people have already come forward so far to show an interest.

Neil Martin, joint chairman of the action group, said: “This represents a fantastic opportunity to preserve a valuable community asset going forward.

“I know from the huge response we got from the Save Whalley Library Campaign that there are a large number of individuals with just the kind of skill-set we are looking for willing and able to serve on a shadow board and to put the kind of business plan together that is required.

“We are very grateful that the Lancaster Foundation has stepped forward with such kindness.”

For more information visit