A WAR of words has broken out over who will take the credit for saving Atherton Library – and where it will be housed.
Atherton and Atherleigh ward Labour councillors claim they secured a deal with Wigan Council to keep Atherton Library in its existing building.
But Atherton Library Support Group, chaired by Atherton Independent Clr Jamie Hodgkinson, says it has been instrumental in a bid which would secure the library at York Street for at least five years.
The building’s future has been in doubt since it was earmarked for disposal as part of spending cuts.
Clr Karen Aldred, on behalf of herself and Labour colleagues, said: “It is important that the library service continues in Atherton.
“Mark Aldred, Susan Loudon, Pam Stewart and myself are really pleased to have been able to secure the library’s future until an alternative can be found.
“The Labour Council has worked hard to make sure no libraries in the borough close, despite cuts.”
But support group member and Atherton Independent (Win) Clr Norman Bradbury said: “Labour councillors claim they have saved Atherton Library, sorry, all they have done is stated the obvious, that until an alternative site is found it will have to stay where it is in York Street.
“They still support the party line for the eventual sale of Atherton’s only civic buildings for housing, unlike the Independent Win Councillors who want them brought back into community use with The Atherton Centre for skills training and the Town Hall as the base for Atherton Town Council.
“Atherton Library Support Group together with the Atherton Community School, Fixit UK Limited, the Harmony Music Project and the Atherton Independent (Win) councillors have formed a steering group to formulate a bid to Wigan MBC which would ensure a long term future for the Atherton Centre, formally Atherton Technical College.
“The project would bring the Atherton Centre back into use for skills training provided by Fixit UK Limited and the Harmony Music Project.
“The project will be led by Ian Tomlinson of Fixit UK Limited who has already agreed that as part of the project, the library will be able to stay in the York Street Building rent free.
“This will ensure its future for at least five years, or the length of time negotiated by the steering group for its lease from Wigan MBC.”