LIBRARY INQUIRY UPDATE: Children and old people 'will lose out'
THE closure of 11 libraries would have a harmful effect on community life across Wirral, the local inquiry has heard.
Addressing the panel at the Floral Pavillion this afternoon, representatives from each of the libraries, said that vulnerable groups such as the elderly and children would be left without what they called a vital community resource if their library was to close.
Among them was Elizabeth Webster, from Hoylake Action Group.
Mrs Webster, whose children are regular users of Hoylake Library, said: "The library is extremely well-used and is not just a place for the lending of books.
"It is ranked fourth in Wirral for computer usage.
"Its closure would be inconsistent with the council's strategic asset review.
"The closure of the library would generate more car journeys."
Val Curtis, speaking in support of Irby library said: "Libraries are a way of escape. They are intergenerational havens and retreats."
Fellow campaigner Dave Hall criticised senior members of the council, when he said: "The council's consultation with the public has been a complete sham.
"I know there were rules and protocols, but I do not necessarily agree with them.
"Headteachers were told they were not allowed to comment on the closures."
Sue Charteris, chairing the inquiry, ordered that Mr Hall's political comments were struck.
Esther McVey, prospective Conservative Candidate for Wirral West, said: "We don't want anything that could lead to social exclusion.
"No consideration has been given to the impact on community life.
"I call on Wirral Council to stop this closure programme."
According to a Globe source, the QC hired to represent the council has been paid in thye greion of £15,000 - and so far he has not yet cross-questioned anyone presenting evidence. THE GLOBE