CAMPAIGNERS who refused to give up have welcomed recommendations to keep all of Warrington’s libraries open after thousands of people rallied ‘to make their voices heard’.

Council chiefs are poised to make a U-turn by committing to keep all libraries in the town open, as reported on Monday.

The executive board is being asked to approve new plans which will see all of the borough's libraries saved for the foreseeable future.

Members will discuss the recommendations at their Town Hall meeting on Monday but the Guardian understands some executive members are concerned about the cost implication of the recommendations.

There was widespread anger after a consultation into plans to shut nine of the town's 11 sites was launched, with determined campaigners pressing the authority to have a major rethink.

A working group has been looking at ways to protect services by identifying a 'sustainable future' since it was set up in March.

And under the new proposals, library operator LiveWire and the council are vowing to 'maximise resources' by working with external partners at a number of libraries to create 'mini hubs', with integrated services focusing on learning, wellbeing and the community.

Grappenhall resident Dina Kingsnorth-Baird, founder of the Save Warrington's Libraries group, hailed campaigners for their tireless efforts following the news.

She said: “All libraries are important.

“They all matter and they are very much our libraries.

“They are a hub for everyone, a child’s first step in to discovery, a place of togetherness and community and a powerful vote for the importance of investing together, for all of our benefit.

“Something to be incredibly proud of and which we should protect.

“What seems like a lifetime ago, I set up the petition to save our libraries because I wanted everyone to have a voice.

“Since then we’ve made that voice heard.

“Thousands of us signed the petition, hundreds joined events and rallies and we didn’t give up.

“Scores of us even turned up at council meetings.

“And then over the past few months we’ve been there in the working group – led by Gary and Jane – helping to bring the voice of the public to the discussion on the future of our libraries.

“And hats off to the council, they listened and worked with us to find a solution to be proud of.

“What started as a shameful attempt to close down the libraries by Livewire, followed by the public making their voices heard, led to the council listening, opening up the discussion and together we found a much better solution.

"We are a town that came together and saved our libraries.

"Like the libraries themselves, that’s something we can all be proud of."

Cllr Tony Higgins, executive board member for leisure and community, said he is ‘delighted’ with the recommendations, while council chief executive Steven Broomhead believes the proposals ‘provide the way forward to maintain and develop library services now and in the future’.

Plans revealed that a new library will also open shortly as part of the Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub development.

A number of the proposals would see investment from the council to refurbish and reconfigure buildings to make them 'fit for purpose' as sustainable community hubs.

The total budget for Warrington's libraries service in 2017-18 totals just over £1.5 million.

As part of the recommendations, the council is committing an investment of £150,000 in 2018 to enhance the book budget.

LiveWire will be investing an additional £50,000 on new books each year too.