A SENIOR council officer has said that councillors are having to make “horrendous” and “scary” decisions because of a drive to cut costs.

Elizabeth Binns, Bury Council’s head of libraries, made the announcement at a Bury West Township Forum meeting tonight.

As part of the council’s libraries review, it is proposing to close at least 10 and possibly 11 of the borough’s 14 libraries.

Bury Council must make £32million of cuts to services between now and 2020.

The two options presented to the public by the council in the review are, firstly, to keep running Bury Library and the archives, Ramsbottom Library and Prestwich Library – this is the council’s bare minimum legal requirement.

This would mean 98 per cent of the borough’s population would be able to access a library via public transport in under 30 minutes.

The second option, the council’s preferred option, would see Radcliffe Library remain open alongside the other three libraries, but with the same amount of overall funding as option one.

Ms Binns said: “Councillors are having to make horrendous decisions, and it is scary, please give them credit for the immense amount of hard work they do on our behalves.”

Ms Binns opened her presentation to the township forum by describing the importance of libraries in her and her family’s lives, particularly when she was growing up, and how sad she was that many will inevitably close.

“Libraries have always been an important place for children and a safe place for children, and we will continue that,” she said.

“We have done a lot of work to ensure that the vast majority of people will be able to access a library.

"But we have to be realistic about the money that we have got."

Ms Binns said there will be improvements in technology to make the library service easier to use for people 24 hours per day from the comfort of their own homes.

She also said the council will work with communities as much as it can to ensure services and activities currently provided by libraries will continue after it removes the public funding.

She added: “If we do not work with people who need these services then we might as well give up, because we are here to help people.”

The public can have their say on which option they prefer until April 27.

Ms Binns added that if residents did not support either option they should nonetheless comment, promising that the council would take into account their views.

After April 27 a decision will be taken by councillors as to which option to implement.

Changes to library services in Bury will then be made from August 1.

To have your say, go to surveymonkey.co.uk/r/bury-libraries-consultation