PEOPLE living in Astley Bridge have vowed to continue their fight to save their community library.

Bolton Council has announced plans to close five of its libraries—Astley Bridge, Oxford Grove, Heaton, Highfield and Castle Hill.

Although the Healton building will be retained as a community hub.

About 30 angry residents packed into the Astley Bridge Area Forum—at the library — to discuss the plans.

Themove will save the council £400,000 as part of its wider £60 million budget cuts, enforced by a reduction in Government funding.

It is expected to be rubberstamped by Town Hall chiefs on Wednesday at a public meeting held in the Festival Hall at 10am.

Astley Bridge councillor Paul Wild said: “The fight still goes on.”

Councillors said they would press ahead with plans to run the library as a community trust manned by volunteers — but warned “time was of the essence”.

Leader of local Conservatives in Bolton, and ward councillor John Walsh said: “To run it as a community facility will not happen over night. A library in Astley Bridge is vitally important.”

He urged people to write and express their anger to Bolton Council’s chief executive Sean Harriss before next week’s meeting.

Cllr Hilary Fairclough said a more even distribution of area forummoney could help keep libraries open — claiming there was tens of thousands of pounds difference in the money Astley Bridge received compared to other areas.

She added: “We recognise there is a funding problem and have given solutions.”

Residents said the loss of the library would be a big blow for the community, with others asking if they could withhold their council tax if the facility shut. They backed running the library as a social enterprise, which could attract grants, sponsorship and commercial backing.

Resident Barry Lovell said: “We have to look at the community trust.”

Fellow resident Ruth Shaw added: “The Government talks about internet access for everyone, and this placewould be perfect. It is so expensive for mums to take their children into Bolton to use the library.

Cllr Fairclough said if the community trust could get off the ground, they would, with the council’s backing, be able to retain the building.