In its Pre-Budget Consultation for 2018/19, Cheshire East Council included a suggestion that Alderley Edge, Disley and Prestbury Libraries could be closed in order to cut costs.
The document stated: “This proposal considers delivering further savings from the library service by closing the three smallest libraries within the borough: Alderley Edge, Disley and Prestbury.
It continued: “The council has a statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all in the area that want to make use of it, but the council is able to determine where libraries are provided giving consideration to equalities and best value duties.
The council has since back-tracked on these proposals, in a move that has been widely welcomed by the communities affected.
Macclesfield MP David Rutley (whose constituency includes both Disley and Prestbury) has set out his thoughts on the decision to keep the libraries open.
David said he had strong concerns about the possible closure of the libraries, and is pleased that this change of heart has taken into consideration the feelings of local residents.
Along with Disley Parish Council and local ward councillor Cllr Harold Davenport, Mr Rutley campaigned to retain services at the library and ensure its future use.
A campaign was also spearheaded in Alderley Edge by Cllr Craig Browne, who commented: “I am absolutely delighted to announce that the proposed closure of Alderley Edge Library has been dropped by Cheshire East Council.”
Craig added: “This decision follows my recent campaign, residents’ feedback on the pre-budget consultation, a petition carried out by local school children and more than 50 local people offering to help as volunteers to keep the library open.”
In Alderley Edge it is proposed that the library will continue to open for five half-days per week, allowing Cheshire East Council to minimise costs incurred through paying for lunchtime cover.
Craig continued: “This is extremely good news, but we all have a responsibility now to use our library as much and as often as possible to ensure that it is not placed under threat again in future.”
As well as Craig’s efforts, two pupils at Alderley Edge Community Primary School launched a petition to keep the library open.
Between them, they collected over 600 signatures from their friends at school, Guides groups and ballet classes.
Craig commented: “This has been an amazing effort from two of the youngest members of our community and I would like to say a huge thank you and well done to them.”
He handed their petition to Cheshire East portfolio holder, Cllr Liz Wardlaw.
Following this series of campaigns locally, Cheshire East councillors agreed to retain all of the current library provision across Cheshire East, meaning that no local libraries are presently earmarked for closure.
Disley Parish Council has invested heavily in its local library recently, helping to create a community hub for the village – with mother and toddler ‘Rhyme Time’, internet services for those without computers, and much-valued services for elderly and isolated residents.
David Rutley said: “Libraries deliver so many important services for local residents of all ages, including those relating to education and health.
“I will go on actively working to help ensure that the Library continues to play an important role in the life of the community in Disley.”