A COUNCILLOR has accused the MP representing Atherton of making 'fictitious claims' about plans for the town's library.
After a consultation closed at the weekend seeking residents' views on how to make the current library service more efficient and effective as Wigan Council looks to make savings of £1.4 million over the next year due to government cuts, MP Chris Green said on his website that 'it seems we are about to lose' Atherton Library.
The views of the MP for Bolton West, which covers Atherton, have been strongly disputed by Atherleigh councillor Mark Aldred.
Mr Green wrote: "First we lost our swimming baths, then we lost Formby Hall and now it seems we are about to lose our library.
"Wigan Council is currently consulting on a proposal to move Atherton Library into the town hall building next door to create a ‘community hub’.
"What many people don't realise is that this won't have a library as you and I know it.
"The library will be replaced with a counter service, where people will have to order any book they would like to read.
"The ability to browse shelves will be taken away.
"This is bad news, and I fear it is part of the council's wider plans to remove a library resource from Atherton altogether."
Mr Aldred said: “I have seen a number of claims stating that if Atherton Library moves into the town hall it won’t house any books.
"This is complete nonsense. How can a library be a library without any books?
"In Atherton councillors have vowed to maintain local library services and to ensure plenty of books are available on shelves.
"The proposal for Atherton Library is to move from its current building, which is in a state of disrepair, to the former town hall, which is empty.
"The town hall offers more opportunities to bring council, health and voluntary services together under one roof, making it easier for residents to access general help and advice from one community building on their doorstep while still protecting a full library service.
"The move could even see library hours extended."
Mr Green said he planned to raise his concerns with the libraries minister in Parliament.