COUNCILLORS have hit back at plans to close libraries in their neighbourhoods, with some claiming they had not even been told about the proposals.

Culcheth Library is one of the buildings set to close if plans go ahead and Cllr Matt Smith (LAB) hit out at LiveWire for ‘intentionally misleading’ residents with statistics.

The Culcheth, Glazebury and Croft councillor said: “LiveWire provided figures showing that library use in Orford has increased, whilst library use in Culcheth has decreased.

“However they fail to point out that when library hours were changed earlier this year, Culcheth Library faced a cut of over 30 per cent in opening hours, whilst Orford's library hours increased by almost 50 per cent.

“By providing this selective data LiveWire are either intentionally trying to mislead local residents or they have a very poor grasp of using statistical data.

“In either case I would suggest that the people behind this proposal are not fit to be making choices which have such a significant impact on our communities."

His fellow councillors, Cllr Joan Grime and Cllr Jan Davidson, added: “Culcheth Library offers many opportunities which could not be replaced by a lending locker service.

“As councillors for Culcheth, Glazebury and Croft we are completely opposed to any reduction in, or removal of, the library service in Culcheth.”

Lymm library is also marked for closure under the plans and Cllr Ian Marks (Lib Dem) criticised LiveWire for not letting people know about the consultation.

He said: “We are annoyed that councillors and the Parish Council were not informed about the consultation.

“As representatives of the community we should have been told rather than have to rely on word of mouth to find out about it. Many people I have spoken to in the last few days knew nothing about the consultation which is a great shame.

“In Lymm we have a new building and it would be a great shame and waste if this fell into disuse.

“We all know that the internet has made huge changes to the way people access information and reading material, but libraries are more than just places where you can borrow books.”

A meeting between LiveWire and Penketh residents had to be moved to a larger venue after more than 150 people turned up to hear about plans to replace their library with lending lockers.

Cllr David Keane (LAB) said the audience was ‘gobsmacked’ by the proposals.

He said: “I'm deeply concerned about the consultation proposal which has left locals in shock.

“I've arranged for a meeting with residents in order to develop a strong community response to the proposal. I'll be encouraging the strongest community response to keep the best library service possible in Penketh.”

The meeting will take place at Penketh Pool on September 17 at 10am.

Fate of town's libraries uncertain after public consultation launched