Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley has slammed Lancashire County Council’s decision to once more put Whalley Library up for sale. It was announced late last week that the much-loved community hub, which acts both as a village library and children’s centre, has been placed on the market despite valiant efforts from community groups and local councillors to save it.
The £400,000 library, which saw footfall of 3,000 per month, was initially listed for sale on New Year’s Eve but was soon taken off the market as Councillors Terry Hill and Ged Mirfin of the ‘Save Whalley Library’ campaign secured a meeting with Rob Wilson MP in his capacity as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Civil Society.
Lancashire County Council have previously blamed a budget deficit for the closure of the library, however, the most recent announcement of sale comes just three weeks after the Council voted through a 3.99% increase in council tax.
Mr Evans believes the Conservative victory in the Copeland by-election, a seat that had previously been held by Labour for over 90 years, reflects the public’s current distrust of the Labour Party.
Speaking from his constituency office in Clitheroe over the weekend, Mr Evans said:
“Following Copeland, the Labour-led County Council have been put on notice. People will look at the increase in council tax and the decrease in public services throughout Lancashire and begin to question where their money is going. I am confident that the public will make their feelings known at the ballot box in May and vote Conservative.”
He has been an outspoken critic of the Council and has criticized LCC for ignoring the voices of Whalley residents, requesting a further consultation period.
Mr Evans concluded by stating:
“If the Conservatives win the May election, we will fight to strengthen public services throughout Lancashire and give the public real value for money. It is paramount that such a steep increase in council tax creates a noticeable difference to the quality of life for Lancashire’s residents.”
The County Council elections will take place on Thursday 4th May.