COUNCILLORS have condemned Lancashire County Council’s decision to sell Whalley Library and the timing of its announcement late on the Friday before New Year.

The decision to axe the building, which saw a footfall of more than 3,000 people a month, has been branded ‘duplicitous behaviour’ by ward councillor Ged Mirfin.

Cllr Mirfin, who co-chairs the Save Whalley Library Group, said: “The announcement has prompted an angry response from the residents of Whalley and Billington.


“It has struck everyone as not only incredibly crass but is regarded by many people as thoroughly duplicitous behaviour by Lancashire County Council trying to bury the announcement at a time when they hoped no-one would be watching out for it.

“County council elections are in May. It’s a deliberate action by the Labour group to sell the library off before the Conservatives seize power.

“People of Whalley are now having to trudge all the way to Clitheroe, paying either for the bus of car parking in the area.

“It’s really badly thought out and it is the people of Whalley who are suffering from this decision.”

He also suggested that the council tax raised from planned new housing in the area would easily cover the £200,000 cost of keeping the library open.

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

“It’s my belief that the consultation process should be carried out afresh because up until this point the voices of the public in Whalley have been ignored.

“Deputy leader of Lancashire County Council David Borrow 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 have had lengthily debates over the government cuts to services.”