CASH-STRAPPED Cheshire East Council has refused to confirm or deny reports it is looking to close four of its libraries to cut costs.

Campaigners say the libraries at Alderley Edge, Bollington, Disley and Handforth are all under threat of closure from next year.

They understand the council is planning to consult the public on the proposals next month.

The council side-stepped the questions when the Local Democracy Reporting Service asked whether closure is on the cards for the four named libraries and, if so, when.

Knutsford Guardian: Cllr Mick WarrenCllr Mick Warren (Image: Cheshire East Council)

Instead a statement released by Cllr Mick Warren (Macclesfield, Ind), who chairs the environment and communities committee, said: “The council’s adopted medium-term financial strategy (MTFS) for 2024 to 2028 sets out proposals for how the council will balance its budget for the next four years.

“This includes proposals to ensure the ongoing affordability of providing a broad range of library services across Cheshire East, while also making the necessary savings the council must deliver to protect essential services and continue to support those who need help the most.

“In June, the environment and communities committee will consider a report which seeks approval to launch a public consultation on a number of options for library services, including how some of the council’s smaller libraries can be operated in a different way.

“No final decisions have yet been made.”

Knutsford Guardian: Alderley Edge LibraryAlderley Edge Library (Image: Google)

He added: “Subject to approval by committee, we expect to launch the consultation later in June and will be encouraging people to have their say through this, as well as engaging with community organisations and town and parish councils to explore opportunities for working in partnership to support library services in their local areas.”

The statement comes less than a year after Cllr Warren said, in July: “Unlike some local authorities that have undertaken similar reviews of library services, we have never proposed any full closures of our library sites, but we do also have no choice but to change the way in which we operate our services.”

Knutsford Guardian: Bollington LibraryBollington Library (Image: Google)

The Friends of Bollington Library have launched a rallying call to locals to help save their service.

The group is holding a public meeting at Bollington Civic Hall on Thursday, May 30, at 6pm to discuss how to fight any proposals to close the library.

Sandy Milsom, chair of the Bollington Friends Committee, said “The Cheshire East proposals are a blow to Bollington but we are determined to fight them and keep the library open.”

Knutsford Guardian: Cllr Julie SmithCllr Julie Smith (Image: Cheshire East Council)

Handforth councillor Julie Smith (Non-grouped) told the LDRS: “I haven’t been informed about this officially, nor has John [Cllr John Smith], and if it’s going to consultation it will be strongly commented on by the Handforth community as it was when they did the last consultation about reducing the hours.

“We will fight to keep our library open.”