Updated: Tuesday, 13th November 2018 @ 4:08pm

‘Distressed’ campaigners vow to fight proposed closure of Northenden Library in £80million council cuts

‘Distressed’ campaigners vow to fight proposed closure of Northenden Library in £80million council cuts

By John McDougall

Determined campaigners will fight tooth and nail this week against Manchester City Council’s proposed decision to close Northenden Library.

Northenden’s facilities are among several Manchester libraries – including Burnage, Fallowfield, Levenshulme, Miles Platting and New Moston – earmarked for closure over the coming few years. 

And, ahead of a consultation meeting with the council tomorrow, Clare Wall, co-founder of the Northenden Library Action Group (NLAG), has vowed to express her anger at the decision.

“We are very distressed that our facility will go and we may end up with something completely inadequate,” she told MM.

“We are concerned that the most vulnerable in society will be left with nowhere to go.

“We wish to express our dissatisfaction with this as much of our argument for keeping the library is about it being a community resource – indeed our only one.”

Under current proposals, the current library would be replaced by a smaller facility suitable only for book collection.

So far the campaign has involved leafleting every Northenden home and has garnered approximately 1000 signatures opposing the changes, through both online and paper petitions.

Nearby businesses have displayed posters supporting the campaign and individuals, including Paul Goggins MP and Councillor Mary Di Mauro, a Liberal Democrat member for Northenden, have also expressed an interest.

Cllr Di Mauro in particular has thrown her support behind the campaign and will present an alternative budget this Friday to the council, where all proposed library closures are avoided.

“I am proud to be working with concerned members of our community who value Northenden Library, its staff and the services it provides as much as I do,” she told MM.

“I will be voting against the proposal to close Northenden Library and I have already made my views clear to the council’s executive.

“I would like the council to explain how it has taken the ‘opportunity’ to ‘greatly enhance’ the library service in Northenden by proposing to close the library down.”

Cllr Di Mauro and NLAG – which was founded over a month ago – held a 200-strong protest and march through Northenden opposing the closure last weekend.

The closures will go towards saving the council £80million over the next two years, with Manchester undergoing the biggest percentage of funding cuts out of England’s core cities.

Despite understanding the austere times the city faces, Ms Wall believes that libraries are an easy target when cuts come around and alternative plans should be considered.

“We understand that cuts have to be made, but a library is not the place to lose,” she said.

“A library is an essential service and we feel that money has been spent elsewhere that could have been used to fund our libraries.

“We are gravely concerned about all the proposed library closures across Manchester and we are linking with other campaigns, particularly Levenshulme.”

The consultation meeting will take place tomorrow between 5-7pm at Northenden Community Primary School.

The petition to keep Northenden Library open can be found at http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/manchester-city-council-keep-northenden-library-open

Picture courtesy of Pimlico Badger, via Flickr, with thanks.

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