HALF of East Lancashire’s libraries and two of its flagship museums face closure under the county council cuts plan.

Burnley’s Queen Street Mill and Helmshore Textile Museum will lose all funding from March 31 meaning they will shut their doors unless other groups can find the cash to keep them open.

Two other county-financed museums, Clitheroe Castle and Gawthorpe Hall, will see jobs cut and admission charges rise to try and make them self-sufficient.

The Castle could be handed back to Ribble Valley council to run if the revenue-raising measures fail to work.

Whitehough Outdoor Education centre in Barley will shut on August 31 next year and then be put up for sale to raise cash, On libraries, the proposals will see the current 74 across the county’s 12 boroughs cut to just 34 with at least one left in each district by the end of 2017.

Council leader Jenny Mein has promised the smaller libraries in areas of greatest deprivation such as Central and North Burnley, Nelson and Brierfield, Hyndburn East, Bacup and Colne would be protected if possible along with six mobile units, Unison branch secretary Elaine Cotterell said: “Our cultural services are to be decimated with the proposed closure of 40 libraries and five museums. By 2018, 200 posts in libraries will be lost.

“People will be losing their local library, and this will be a big loss to communities.”

County Tory leader Geoff Driver said: “The council should have been looking at ways to keep libraries open at less cost long ago.”