COUNCILLORS’ decision to close 10 of Bury’s 14 libraries will be looked at again, after a scrutiny committee ‘called in’ the ruling.

Councillors opposed to Bury Council cabinet’s decision maintain that closing the majority of libraries in the borough would impact unfairly on more vulnerable people across the borough.

They also feel that more time should be given to allow community groups to formulate plans to take over the running of their local libraries.

The Labour-led council says it is trying to develop a sustainable library service which meets the needs of current and future service users, against a backdrop of budget reductions.

Cllr Bob Caserta, chairman of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, said: “I have decided to call in the libraries closure proposal because I feel insufficient consideration has been given by this council to the harm that would be caused to the elderly, young children and the disadvantaged who use these facilities throughout the borough.

“I accept that the council has budget pressures but these closures will have a devastating daily effect on people’s lives.

“Further, though the council initially suggested it was open to allow community groups to operate these libraries, yet insufficient time has been allowed to set these up.”

Last week, the council’s cabinet confirmed it would close the majority of libraries in the borough.

Residents had previously been asked during a consultation period which option they would prefer – the council's bare minimum legal requirement of keeping open Bury, Ramsbottom and Prestwich libraries, or saving Radcliffe Library in addition but at no extra cost so funding would be spread more thinly.

Of those who responded, some 71 per cent said that they wanted to keep Radcliffe Library open, and this was the option the cabinet chose.

Cabinet decisions can be called in to ask for the decision to be overturned if councillors believe there is evidence to show it was not made correctly by members, or if they believe the cabinet did not look at other important matters when it made its decision.

A meeting to discuss the decision to close the libraries will be held on Tuesday at 7pm at Bury Town Hall.

Cllr James Daly, leader of the Conservative group on Bury Council, said: “I welcome the decision to call in the libraries decision, as it gives further opportunity to review whether we can keep more libraries open, and to examine the possibilities of community groups taking over the running of the libraries.”

A Bury Council spokesman added that the libraries decision has been “anything but rushed”, as the review was announced in autumn 2016 and has passed through three rounds of public consultation.

The most recent libraries review is also one of several carried out by the council over the past decade.