THE plan to close five libraries in Bolton is not a done deal, according to council leader Cliff Morris.

Cllr Morris has hit back at Twitter claims by Conservative councillor Andy Morgan that the decision had already been made.

Last week, members of the decision-making Executive agreed to consider closing branches in Astley Bridge, Castle Hill, Highfield, Oxford Grove and Heaton, enhance the service at the Central Library and “tier” opening at the remaining nine branch libraries.

During the meeting, Cllr Andy Morgan used his Twitter page to voice doubts over whether a six-week consultation, which started immediately after the meeting, was valid.

He posted a message to his 80-plus followers saying: “Why are they having further consultation on the library closures?

“They have already made their minds up, be straight with the public.”

But Cllr Morris has criticised Cllr Morgan’s approach and said he would not be taken seriously if he continued to voice his views online.

He added: “It is not a foregone conclusion.

We are listening to the public and have done since this process started.

“The decision we have come to is based on the last public consultation and we are now listening to people again.

“If Andy had something to say then he should have said it during the meeting and he would have been taken seriously.”

Cllr Morgan, who had earlier questioned whether the choice of libraries was politically motivated, defended his tweet.

He said: “If the council had been listening then they would not be closing any libraries because the overwhelming feeling was to keep them open and find the savings elsewhere.

“I hope the council will engage in a meaningful consultation but I won’t hold my breath.

I feel this is a done deal.”

Former lawyer Geoffrey Dron, who is a member of the Save Bolton’s Libraries campaign, said he would be looking through the council’s decision to see if there was any grounds for a legal challenge.