MP joins campaign to save Aintree Village Library from closure a

Labour MP Bill Esterson with Aintree Village Parish Council chairman Cllr Terry Baldwin and members of the parish council, Labour Party and residents who have formed a campaign group to save Aintree Village Library.



Labour MP Bill Esterson has joined forces with Aintree Village Parish Council, East Sefton members of the Labour Party and Aintree Village residents in a campaign to save the Aintree Library.

 

Bill and the rest of the campaigners gathered in Altway this week to demonstrate against any plans to close Aintree Library.

 

Aintree Library is under threat of closure after the Tory-Lib Dem Government slashed funding to Sefton Council by another £43 million over the next two years. Tories and Lib Dems have already slashed Sefton's budget over the past two years by £64.5m, making the total cuts to Sefton Council a huge £107.5m.

 

In order to balance the financial blackhole caused by the government's cuts, council officers drew up options on how the savings might be made. This included the closure of all but six of the borough's libraries.

 

Under the proposal, Bootle, Netherton, Crosby, Formby, Maghull and Southport libraries will all be saved. The rest, including Aintree, will be closed.

 

Sefton Council is launching a consultation with library users into the proposals which will run from October 29 through to January 14.

 

Campaigners want to save Aintree Library which they say is vital for the community.

 

Bill Esterson said: "The Tory-Lib Dem Government has cut Sefton Council's budget by £64.5m over the past two years, rising to £107.5m over the next two.

 

"That's one of the greatest cuts to a local authority anywhere in the country.

 

"We all know how vital our local libraries are in our communities, particularly to many of the most vulnerable people.

 

"Sefton councillors are in an impossible position as they try to balance the inadequate budget they have been given which must pay for vital services in the borough.

 

"But libraries, particularly Aintree Village's, is a vital part of the community. It is a place where people of all ages can go and get access to information, the internet and books, and also meet other people.

 

"For many older people the library is the only way they get to meet people. Aintree Library is an integral part of the community of Aintree and I want to see it saved.

 

"I will be doing all I can to safeguard our libraries and I will be lobbying this Tory-Lib Dem Government to provide more money to Sefton to ensure that it can continue to provide the excellent services which it currently provides."

 

Bill Esterson with Aintree Village Library campaignersAintree Village resident and Aintree Village Library user Philip Hammond said the closure of the library will leave many people isolated.

 

Philip said: "Too many people in our communities rely on this library. For many it is the only facility which stops them feeling isolated.

 

"We cannot allow the policies of this heartless Tory-Lib Dem Government lead to people here in Aintree Village being left isolated and alone."

 

Aintree Village Parish Council chairman Cllr Terry Baldwin said the parish council was prepared to fight to save the library.

 

Cllr Baldwin said: "We have 3,000 homes in Aintree Village. We have a population of just over 11,000. The library is one of the few services we still have left here.

 

"It is the hub of the community for many people who live here. It is where people go to meet up and socialise. It is the only access many people have to the internet.

 

"It is a place where some people turn to to keep warm during the winter.

 

“We just don’t have the transport links from Aintree Village to Maghull Library or Netherton Library. You can’t ask older people to make the 40 minute trek across Switch Island to Maghull Library. It’s just insane.

 

"We can't lose Aintree Village Library and we will do all we can to save it from closure.

 

"We will be organising a public meeting in Aintree Village which we hope everyone will come along to."

 

Bill said he will investigate all potential options to save Aintree Library.

 

Bill said: "There is a determined campaign group here which wants to safeguard the library in Aintree Village.

 

"Aintree Village Parish Council is a key part of the campaign. Labour Party members from the Village and many other residents will also do what they can to save the library. I will be supporting the parish council and local community groups in their efforts to find alternative ways of keeping the library open. "