COUNCILLORS are being urged to ‘take a hit’ to help save at least eight of the borough’s libraries.

Bury councillors approved plans to close at least 10 of Bury’s 14 libraries at a cabinet meeting in January in order to save cash.

But now Seedfield Tenants and Residents Association has put forward a suggestion to save the cash needed to keep five of the axed centres open by changing the borough's electoral cycle and reducing the number of councillors in each ward.

Only two options are currently being considered by the council — to save Ramsbottom, Prestwich and Bury libraries plus archives or retain them plus Radcliffe library..

But members of Seedfield TRA say more libraries could be saved if the council only holds local elections once every four years,

The association claims the changes would result in a saving of £175,000 a year – enough cash to keep four or five library and community centres open.

They also want the number of councillors in each ward to be reduced from three to two, saving a further £139,000 per year.

Seedfield TRA member, Ada Morris said: “We have no choice in this, it seems they have already made up their mind and will be closing our libraries regardless of what the people think.

“Why should we suffer alone and why do councillors not stand up and say ‘hang on, we are willing to take a hit’.

“If they are committed to the community and our libraries then they should consider our proposal.”

Gary Hardman, chairman of Seedfield TRA, which runs a winter lunch club for the elderly at Moorside Library in Bury, presented council leader Rishi Shori with the group’s proposal.

He believes it would save Brandlesholme Community Centre and Library, Coronation Road Community Centre and Library, Dumers Lane Community Centre and Library, Moorside Community Centre and Library and Topping Fold Community Centre and Library.

Cllr Shori said: “The decision as to the number of councillors in each ward is determined by the Electoral Commission and the relevant Secretary of State so this is not an issue that the Council has any influence over.

“In terms of the electoral cycles we do not have the power to unilaterally change these.

“A period of consultation would be required, a two thirds majority of councillors would need to support the proposition and then approval from the electoral commission would need to be sought.

“The council is under immediate financial pressures and any savings made would not materialise for at least two years in 2019 as there would have to be an election in 2018 in any event.”

Cllr Shori added: “In a period of instability I do not think yet more change in Bury is the answer and will not generate the savings required to meet your ends.”

Mr Hardman said:“We have presented a viable alternative which would benefit the council."

The final decision about the libraries will be made at Bury Town Hall on Wednesday.