AXE LOOMING OVER 10 MERSEY LIBRARIES; Council Cull Is 'Cultural Vandalism'
Byline: jOHN SIDDLE
A MERSEYSIDE council is set to axe up to 10 of its 13 libraries in a shock cost-cutting move.
Sefton bosses are debating options that would lead to a massive and hugely controversial cull of facilities.
Communities across the borough today reacted with shock at the disclosure, with opposition councillors warning of "cultural vandalism".
Up to 10 libraries - in Ainsdale, Aintree, Birkdale, Bootle, Churchtown, Crosby, Formby, Litherland and Orrell - are at risk in the review, which comes against a backdrop of a PS43m council budget deficit.
The stark options being considered include shutting all 10 libraries - keeping just three in Southport, Maghull and Netherton open.
Option 'B' - one recommended by council officers - is to close seven libraries in Ainsdale, Birkdale and Churchtown, Crosby (the Carnegie library), Litherland, Aintree and Orrell. That would leave six libraries in Sefton, saving around PS450,000.
A proposal to keep all the libraries open but under vastly reduced hours is "unsustainable" say town hall officials.
The impending cull was today blasted as "completely unacceptable" by Sefton's Liberal Democrat opposition.
Lib Dem councillor Haydn Preece, a founder member of Friends of Ainsdale Library, vowed to "fight tooth and nail" to save "a central part of our village community".
Ward councillor Nigel Ashton also condemned the proposal to close Churchtown library.
He said: "Churchtown is an efficient, friendly library which lends out over 110,000 books a year. …