THERE will a new chapter in the future of Coppull and Eccleston libraries following an agreement to keep the current levels of service.

A deal between Chorley Council and Lancashire County Council, will ensure a favourable ending for the hundreds who campaigned to save them.

The libraries were due to be downgraded to ‘satellite’ libraries as part of Lancashire County Council’s drive to tackle a funding gap of £150m over the next few years and residents feared it would leave the community without an important service.

The libraries will now retain their current level of provision until March 2018, giving time for a community-based service to be considered.

Councillor Alan Whittaker, lead member for rural services at Chorley Council, said: “Libraries are a really important part of the community for people of all ages, particularly in more rural areas.

“They are a place where people can get together but they also serve as inspiration to people who are wanting to learn and provide the foundation for a good education. It is often the rural areas that lose out when it comes to rationalising services so it’s really important as a borough council that we do what we can for residents and I’m really pleased we’ve been able to retain the current level of service in both Coppull and Eccleston.”

The news comes after Chorley Council stepped in to save Adlington Library from closure, meaning there will be no reduction in library services across the whole borough of Chorley. Chorley Council will provide almost £100,000 funding to allow the county council to maintain the level of service.hile other options are considered.

Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “We promised our residents that we would do all we can to mitigate the cuts in service by the county council and the money we are providing to fund library services and some of the bus routes is evidence of that.

“By carefully planning ahead and creating new income streams for the council through schemes such as the purchase of the Market Walk shopping centre we are able to maintain services that might otherwise have been lost forever.

“As we are doing in Adlington we will now be working with the communities in both Coppull and Eccleston to preserve the long term futures of the libraries.”

If an agreement had not been reached both Eccleston and Coppull would have become ‘satellite’ libraries, which are unstaffed libraries sharing a space in a council building.

David Borrow, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “Reducing services is the last thing we want to do but the scale of the county council’s financial challenge means we have to take these difficult decisions in order to safeguard services for the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“This agreement shows the benefit of different organisations working together in the common interest. At a time when the county council simply does not have the necessary resources we are grateful that Chorley Council has been able to support these services in Eccleston and Coppull.”