Mothballed library to be given a new lease of life

Parbold Library
Parbold Library

Campaigners have succeeded in their battle to re-open a local library - but the future of another venue on the Wigan border remains in the balance.

The upset villagers of Parbold lobbied Lancashire County Council after it was announced that the library, on The Common, would be shut as part of a major savings programme.

But the county’s new Conservative administration, which has engaged in a bitter war of words over libraries with their Labour predecessors, have confirmed the library should re-open soon.

Parbold and Thornton, near Blackpool, have each been earmarked for a relaunch between this November and the following April.

However the future for Up Holland Library, closed under the same initiative, remains undecided.

The library, and adjoining children’s centre, in Hall Green, were both axed.

St John’s children’s centre in Skelmersdale survived, instead of Up Holland’s, in a West Lancashire shake-up,

County council officials have confirmed that they will entertain any substantial offers from community groups or other interested parties in Up Holland and a number of other locations to take over their running.

Initially there had been a suggestion that Parbold could be run as a community concern - but it is now been decided that the service should be operated by the authority once more.

Coun Peter Buckley, Lancashsire’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “Libraries are a vital service at the heart of our communities, offering free access to books and information, as well as being a place where communities can get together.

“We are grateful to all the voluntary and community groups who have and continue to commit time and resources into the library service and its future development.

“We want to improve people’s access to libraries as soon as we can, and I am pleased that we’ll also be reopening Parbold and Thornton libraries in the coming months.”

More than 1,200 people signed a petition, describing Parbold as a “crucial part of our village community”, before the 2016 closure.

Opposition Labour councillors have questioned funding arrangements for the new libraries - services in neighbouring Coppull and Eccleston are currently being subsidised by Chorley Council.

The row first erupted when the-then Labour-controlled council announced plans to close 26 of the 73 libraries in Lancashire.