Wirral Council confirms closure of nine libraries - where are they and when do they close?

Protest outside Bromborough Civic Centre on Saturday 8. Credit: Steve Molyneux.Protest outside Bromborough Civic Centre on Saturday 8. Credit: Steve Molyneux.
Protest outside Bromborough Civic Centre on Saturday 8. Credit: Steve Molyneux. | steve molyneux
The libraries will close at the end of October.

A member of the public said “people feel betrayed” as Wirral Council moves forward with plans to close a nine libraries.

Wirral Council has confirmed that nine libraries will close by the end of the month due to cuts it made earlier this year.

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The libraries are expected to close on October 30 but there are hopes communities can take over some of the sites. Seven of them could be saved through bids that have been submitted.

The libraries are in Hoylake, Irby, Pensby, Prenton, Wallasey Village, Woodchurch, Higher Bebington, Bromborough and New Ferry.

Ruth Molyneux started a petition to save the library in Bromborough. She told councillors on October 10: “There’s a lot of strong feeling in Bromborough and the surrounding community.

“Bromborough Library and Civic Centre is a much valued community asset. People feel betrayed.”

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Wirral Council said: “These particular closures follow wider consultation and were part of the council’s budget setting process in February 2022. “While the doors to the nine libraries will close, a number of community and not-for-profit organisations have shown an interest in taking some sites over. These organisations have submitted a business case to show they would run them as community assets.”

Protest signs in support of keeping Bromborough civic centre open at the full council meeting on October 10. Credit: Ed BarnesProtest signs in support of keeping Bromborough civic centre open at the full council meeting on October 10. Credit: Ed Barnes
Protest signs in support of keeping Bromborough civic centre open at the full council meeting on October 10. Credit: Ed Barnes | ed barnes

Wirral Council was forced to make £20m in cuts to services earlier this year in order to avoid bankruptcy after a critical report into its finances.

Two libraries, Bromborough and New Ferry, have not had community bids progress to the next stage. The other seven may be saved by a mix of community, church, and school groups.

The Bromborough Civic Centre has been the focus of a community campaign with hopes it could be saved by becoming a community asset. Ruth Molyneux, a member of the public, asked a question at the full council meeting on October 10 calling the situation “not fair.”

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Ms Molyneux said: “September has been and gone and Bromborough Civic Centre has not been put into scope for community asset transfer – unlike all other libraries to be closed at the end of this month. This is not fair.”

Ms Molyneux and Cllr Jo Bird sought to get the library designated a warm hub going into the winter.

Last week, Wirral Council confirmed it would not do this saying the council did not have the funds to operate the building as a warm hub.

Cllr Bird called it a “very disappointing and cold hearted decision.”

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Cllr Jean Robinson on October 10 said the council was working with other partners to provide other possible warm hub spaces in Bromborough. Labour and most Conservative councillors voted to not refer the issue back to committee.

14 libraries will remain open though some may be at risk if the council is forced to make further budget cuts next year.

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