RESIDENTS voiced their concerns about the closure of Whitefield and Unsworth libraries at a packed public meeting.

Library users stressed their concerns about the effects of the closures at a meeting of the Whitefield and Unsworth Township Forum this evening.

The public can have their say on two options, which will see at least ten of the borough’s 14 libraries close – including Unsworth Library and Whitefield Library and Adult Learning Centre.

Head of libraries, Elizabeth Binns gave a presentation on the options and encouraged residents to have their say on the plans.

Both options result in the closure of the majority of the borough’s libraries — the first option would save Bury Library and the archives, Prestwich Library and Ramsbottom Library, the second would save Radcliffe Library in addition to those.

Ms Binns urged residents’ to engage in the second stage of the public consultation and submit their comments.

She said: “We understand how people feel about libraries. We love and value our libraries but we are working in a very harsh economic climate.

“The financial reality has to be faced in every single council department.

“People need libraries more than ever but we are here to make sure we are offering the best library service we can.

“I would urge everyone to have their say on the options, even if you don’t like either option, you can make that clear by taking part in stage two of the consultation.”

Ian Hunsley, from Unsworth, raised concerns about traffic along Bury New Road into Prestwich, if residents are forced to travel into the village to use Prestwich Library.

He said: “With the road works being carried out along the high street in Prestwich now, the roads are gridlocked.

“I don’t think anyone has thought about how much more chaos will be added when our libraries close and we have to go to Prestwich.

“And there is also the issue of parking. There is already a lack of parking in the centre which means that cars are going to spill onto the residential roads, which will cause a war with local neighbours.”

The aim is to provide at least one main library building in the north, central and southern parts of the borough.

Under both options, 98 per cent of Bury residents would be within 30 minutes’ reach of a library.

To have your say, click here.