THREE former libraries in East Lancashire are being sold in a controversial decision by the county council.

The buildings in Whalley, Barrowford and Earby are now up for sale as part of plans to save £220million.

They were closed last year as part of a bid by the council to cut the number of sites it owns and rents.


They were initially offered to community groups but no ‘viable’ plans came forward, the council said.

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans said: “I’m absolutely incandescent.

“The consultation process should be carried out afresh.

“The voices of the people in Whalley have been completely ignored.”

The council said it is being faced with a ‘difficult’ budget position and is having to make ‘huge’ savings.

Cllr Mike Goulthorp, who represents Earby on Pendle Council, said: “It’s unfortunate we have not be able to get any community response.

“However, I do not think the council should just throw it away because of that.

“There was clear evidence of the library being used and I think they could have found a way to keep it alive.”

Last August the council announced plans to shut libraries in Rosegrove, Briercliffe, Trawden, Clayton-le-Moors, Oswaldtwistle, Rishton, Adlington and Read.

But it was revealed recently that Oswaldtwistle Library will be handed over to the Oswaldtwistle Lamp Group while Trawden will reopen as a community shop, a post office and a library service.

Cllr David Borrow, county council deputy leader, said: “We’re faced with a very difficult budget position.

“In 2020/21 we will have a funding gap of £146m as a result of ongoing government cuts to our budget and rising demand for services.

“We don’t want to be in this position, but we have to make difficult decisions.

“People will still have access to services, while allowing the council to deliver some of the savings.”