Campaign to save library

Councillor Bob Brierley outside Hindley Free Library and Museum
Councillor Bob Brierley outside Hindley Free Library and Museum
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A CAMPAIGN has been launched to halt sell-off plans for one of Hindley’s best loved buildings.

Protestors claim that Grade Two Listed Hindley Library was gifted to the people of the town - not the council - by the late mill tycoon John Leyland.

But campaign group leader Coun Bob Brierley said that he hopes to draw on a modern statute to thwart the town hall’s plans.

The Hindley Green independent wants residents groups, including the Hindley Local History Society which had a small museum there, to join him in using the Coalition’s Localism Act to demand the council lease it off for community use instead.

He has also asked council chiefs to provide him with a copy of the legal covenant which accompanied the deeds to the library building.

He will then explore raising funds to get a legal opinion on the document and whether it provides grounds for residents to challenge the sell off.

In the meantime he is now urging residents and concerned parties to write to chief executive Donna Hall demanding that she withdraw the building from sale.

It is due to be auctioned on July 24.

Coun Brierley said: “I have contacted the council’s Land and Property department to object to this attempt to sell off a building that belongs to the residents of Hindley.

“I want it placing on record that the current leaders of the council have no rights to sell off a property that does not belong to Wigan MBC.

“Under the Localism Act this council is not allowed to sell off any properties owned by the residents which was given to them by the former owner Mr Leyland.”

Penny McGinty, assistant director for property at the council, said: “When Hindley library moved to its new, multi-purpose home finding a different use for the previous building was always going to be a challenge.

“Despite significant investment in the past, the building still required further investment. and its listed status presented difficulties.

“We’ve been working hard to find a way to allow the building to remain in an appropriate use but factors outside our control have now made this impossible.

“We have decided it makes best financial sense to sell the building.”

“The reason is lead was stolen from the roof causing significant water damage and exacerbating the spread of wet and dry rot throughout the building.”