Over the last 18 months I have been fighting to return a library to residents in Astley Bridge. Over this period, I have consulted with many residents across the area and they had put forward several ideas for a new use of the building, which lead to a petition being raised.
The petition which was signed by nearly 1300 residents and presented to the Mayor of Bolton in May, it called for the Grade II listed chapel at Astley Bridge Cemetery to be converted into a library, local education centre and community cafe.
On the 18th October, Labour Executive Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Cllr Nick Peel approved a response which stated ‘having previously conducted a review of library provision across the borough the council considers there is adequate library provision for the area and no need for investment to provide for additional provision.
The petition proposal is therefore not considered a viable proposition for the council’.
Bereavement Services Dept had previously stated they have no use for the Grade II listed chapel, ‘The chapel has been surplus to requirements for a number of years’, and the Council will now seek to sell the chapel to an investor.
“Residents will understandably be angry at the Labour run Council, who are denying residents access to decent basic services like a library. Some residents can’t just easily ‘nip’ to other areas because of cuts to bus services. Before the Council closed the library it had 25,000 visitors a year – yet they don’t think that is enough visitors to return a library to the area. It took a tremendous amount of pressure to get the Council to re-roof the chapel 18 months ago, to make it weather proof, it’s almost like they’d rather see the building fall down than bring it back into use for the community.” – Warren fox
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