NEIGHBOURHOOD campaigners in Burnley have been handed the keys to a former library to serve as their new community centre.

Supporters of the Thursby Gardens Community Action Group (TGCAG) were first in line for the rights to take over the former Colne Road library, which closed as part of a county council shake-up in 2008.

Now bosses at County Hall have handed over control of the landmark building to TGCAG chairman Richard Chipps.

And the group is intending to pick up where the library left off in terms of computer access and comunity information services.

The library will also house the voluntary group Positive Prospects, which encourages young people to take up educational and employment opportunities in Burnley and beyond.

And offices will be rented out by TGCAG to Burnley Council and NHS East Lancashire for their outreach services.

Mr Chipps said: “Having a place to meet and carry out activities will put us on a much firmer footing and means we can do more for people in this area.

“We will make an income from renting the office space, and having a physical base means we have also been able to attract funding from a variety of sources.

“The building is in a fantastic location for people from all the surrounding communities to visit. I’m looking forward to this building being used to deliver really useful services for everyone in this area.”

County officials have agreed a 125-year lease for the two-storey building, which has been vacant since it was mothballed, along with Barbon Street and Brunshaw libraries, to make way for the new Burnley Campus.

County councillor Geoff Driver, county council leader, said: “I’m very pleased to be able to hand the keys over to Thursby Garden Community Action Group.

"I'm sure this building, like the group, will continue to be a great asset to the area.

“Handing small buildings to the community is something we are happy to do when there is a strong case to support it.”