NOTHING ceases to amaze me about the way Bolton Council conducts its business.

First of all it gives (not loans) £300,000 to a firm of solicitors under dubious circumstances to say the least, then, only after the council was put under pressure, and the firm of solicitors shut up shop, did it try to get the money back.

However, the council says the £300,000 was paid back.

This latest announcement of the council planning to spend £600,000 of council taxpayers' precious money to refurbish the old Great Lever library is even more puzzling since it would appear that the council thinks there is need in the area, but has no idea what the refurbished building will be used for or by whom!

Surely planned spending of this magnitude, (given that the council has closed libraries and other vital services because of a lack of money), should have extensive and detailed evidence of need in that area and evidence of how spending £600,000 will meet that need and what services and groups are likely to be using the building.

Anything less makes no sense, is woolly minded and is certainly not best value for council taxpayers' money.

I have been involved personally in making funding applications to different funding bodies and their processes are rigorous.

To be successful, applicants have to thoroughly demonstrate the community need with hard facts and figures and demonstrate with precise plans and evidence of how that need will be met, not "let's get the funding then decide who or how we will use the building".

Before committing to this spending, I would have thought any hard-pressed council would want to know exactly how this building would be used and by whom.

As the councillor says, no groups now use the old library so is there really a need for a 'community hub' there?

There are lots of other communities who would love a community hub, and quite right too, but the question is, who would use it and how?

Surely that needs to be identified first.

Other questions should be who will pay the running costs? Will community groups be charged for using it and where will the income go? Will it remain a council owned and run community centre, with open access to all as in other council-owned community centres?

I think the residents of Astley Bridge, 600 of whom petitioned to retain their facility there, would say that theirs was an identified and evidenced need and the library a very well-used community hub by the community there, but their needs fell on deaf ears.

I am in no way against spending money on evidenced community need, but a bit more detailed thinking is required here please Bolton Council before spending £600,000 of our hard-earned cash.

Sharron Howard

Buckley Lane