LIVEWIRE’S plans for the future of libraries have been unanimously approved by councillors at an executive board meeting.

Following a public consultation last year on proposals to shut nine libraries, the company prepared a report based on residents’ responses, which included scrapping plans to move central library to Golden Square and creating a working group to look at the issue afresh before reporting back in November.

And council leader, Cllr Terry O’Neill defended LiveWire’s handling of the process.

At the meeting on Monday he said: “It’s only the council that can decide. LiveWire have taken a bit of stick lately but they have done what we have asked them to do.

“£90 million we have had taken from us and this Labour administration has never closed a library and we don’t intend to.

“It’s about a different way of delivering libraries, that’s the model we have to provide, like at the Great Sankey Hub. What we are trying to do is ensure we have got a sustainable long term future for libraries.”

The working group will be tasked with developing a plan for libraries and is set to be chaired by council chief executive Steven Broomhead.

It will be made up of two council officers, three LiveWire representatives and two independent advisors and will meet every three weeks.

The group’s priorities include presenting business cases and carrying out assessments for each of the proposals presented in the report.

Library users will also be invited to have their say on the plans for each library.

Working group meetings will be held in public, except for when members are discussing confidential information, and documents will be published on the council’s website.

The group is expected to present their findings to councillors in November.