COUNCILLOR Linda Dirir has said she will fight the closure of Penketh Library and criticised LiveWire for suggesting elderly people travel to Great Sankey to browse the shelves at a new neighbourhood hub.

Cllr Dirir (LAB) criticised LiveWire’s plans to replace nine libraries, including Penketh, with lending lockers and said the company had ignored the challenge of making libraries sustainable.

She said the proposals had caused distress among residents of all ages.

“There’s a great amount of unrest, 30 or 40 people have been to see us about this. We fully support the residents in wanting to retain Penketh Library and as councillors we will be fighting the closure as much as we can,” she said.

In public meetings, LiveWire has suggested Penketh residents can use a lending locker or browse the shelves at Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub.

But the hub is a 30 minute walk away and with no direct bus service, Cllr Dirir argued that Penketh’s high number of older residents will be stranded.

She said: “We fully support the building of a lovely new pool and library at Great Sankey but it’s just not possible for people in Penketh to walk and get to Sankey to access library services. Penketh and Sankey are not synonymous.

“Honiton Way is already a kind of hub and if you lose one thing you may be in danger of losing other facilities.

“There’s a lot that goes on within a good library. Penketh residents get the assistance of library staff and help with job applications. Where would all those services be picked up if we lost the library?”

Cllr Dirir also criticised LiveWire’s suggestion that volunteers could take over community libraries as she said the upkeep of the building and renewing stock would be expensive.

“LiveWire should have been looking at this a long time ago, asking how could we make libraries more sustainable by making some income?” she argued.

“Not everyone in Penketh is aware of the threat to the library so it’s important that we do get the message out and we urge all residents to have their say.

“I would urge everyone to get their comments in, to keep informed and to keep the momentum going.”

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