PLANS to shut more than 20 libraries in East Lancashire as part of a major cuts programme have been branded a ‘disgrace’.

Libraries set to be lost in the latest phase of a £262million budget reduction initiative by Lancashire County Council include Rosegrove, Briercliffe, Barrowford, Trawden, Clayton-Le-Moors, Oswaldtwistle, Rishton, Whalley, Adlington and Read.

However Brierfield, Bacup and Whitworth libraries were given a stay of execution as well as Willows Park Children’s Centre in Longridge

Young people’s and community centres across the county will also be removed from Lancashire County Council control.

In total more than 100 buildings are being recommended for closure by councillors, who will make the decision at a cabinet meeting on Thursday, September 8.

The number of places at which some services are available would also be reduced if the proposal goes ahead.

Critics have blasted County Hall saying the move will have a negative effect on East Lancashire.

Ribble Valley Councillor Ged Mirfin said the cabinet at Lancashire County Council had got officers to “do their dirty work”.

Darwen and Rossendale MP Jake Berry said: “I am pleased that some of Rossendale’s libraries have been given a stay of execution.

“Making the announcement at 7.30pm on a Friday is unfair on the staff and the people who use the libraries.”

Teacher Emma Clark, who set up a petition opposing the closure of Rishton Library said: “I am absolutely appalled at LCCs response to our carefully considered and well researched proposal.”

It is heavily evident that LCC are not interested in the views or thoughts of local residents or local Councillors. . The closure of the library building in the centre of Rishton will have an irreversible negative effect on the whole of the village.”

Hyndburn Council leader and county councillor Miles Parkinson said: “The county council is doing what is having to be done because of a £200million funding shortfall from Westminster.”