Lib Dem Councillors call for rethink on library closures

A group of Liberal Democrat councillors in Southport are calling on Sefton Council to rethink its decision to close Churchtown, Ainsdale and Birkdale Libraries.

Six Lib Dem Councillors representing the areas affected have used a special council procedure to "call in" the decision of Sefton Council’s ruling Cabinet to close the libraries. The matter is due to be reconsidered by the Council's Scrutiny Committee.

Sefton Council seem determined to close Churchtown Library
Cllr Nigel Ashton is a leading campaigner in the fight to save Churchtown Library. Cllr Ashton says "The Cabinet's decision to close Southport's three branch libraries is unsound and we are calling on the Scrutiny Committee to order the Cabinet to reconsider."

"The Friends of Churchtown Library, working together with our colleagues in Ainsdale and Birkdale, put together an excellent business plan to keep the three libraries open while making the financial savings required by Sefton Council."

"The Sefton Cabinet considered our business plan at their July meeting and rejected it without any real discussion. As a local councillor, I have led the referral of the Cabinet's decision to the Council's Scrutiny Committee (this is like an appeal in a legal case)."

Ainsdale Cllr Haydn Preece explains:  "Our main concern is that Sefton Council asked for the various library campaign groups to submit their final bids by early May. However the basis on which officers judged the bids were not decided upon until nearly 2 months later, on 2nd July. It is a case of moving the goalposts and it is simply unfair."

"Cllr. Iain Brodie Browne (Birkdale) added: "Imagine applying for a job and having to submit an application form before you have been shown the job description or person specification.  We have very real concerns that the Council is laying itself open to legal challenge for not acting fairly and transparently."