Campaigners have been given three months to come up with viable ways to take over the running of five libraries to save them from closure.
Bradford Council has announced it will shut the libraries in Addingham, Denholme, Heaton, Wilsden and Wrose at the end of June, saving £70,000, if alternative ways of operating
them are not found.
Tony Stephens, the Council’s assistant director for culture and tourism, said: “The proposed closure date for the five libraries identified in this year’s budget is June 30.
“Between now and that date we will be holding a series of consultations with all interested parties to explore alternative ways of service delivery.”
Councillor Adrian Naylor (Con, Craven) is working with residents in Addingham to explore how the community can take over the library, which is already
owned by the parish council.
He said: “What concerns me is that the Council is putting a date out for closures and it has not told people about the dates of consultation.
“Having spoken to the parish council and residents in Addingham it’s anticipated that they will look to take over the library and run it as a community asset. The major concern is adequate and
proper consultation because they need to understand what liabilities they are entering into in doing that.
“I don’t see it as holding one meeting where the Council ticks a box and that’s consulting people.
“If people are serious about consultation, like Councillor Greenwood has said at the budget meeting, then I expect proper consultation.”
Council leader Ian Greenwood has repeatedly insisted publicly that he is willing to listen to any alternatives to closures.
The proposal to close the libraries was included in the library plan produced by the previous Tory-led administration, he said, and they are not financially sustainable with Addingham Library alone
costing £5.83 per visit to run.
Mobile services are expected to replace libraries that close.
Overall, the library service is facing cuts of £490,000 as part of last month’s budget supported by the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green groups.
Almost half the money will be raised through voluntary redundancies and one public floor of Bradford Central Library will close as part of a rearrangement designed to save £50,000.
Meanwhile, a Council spokesman said “no date has been agreed yet” for the closure of Manningham swimming baths. Campaigners fighting to save the pool, led
by resident Karl Dallas with the support of Liberal Democrat ward councillor Qasim Khan, have started a petition to try to save it.
Read the full story in Monday's T&A