THE date has been set for the closure of two Radcliffe libraries amidst a backdrop of services being axed across Bury.

It comes after Bury Council chiefs announced the closure of the majority of the borough's 14 libraries earlier this year as a cost-cutting strategy.

In just three weeks, libraries in Dumers Lane and Coronation Road as well as nearby Ainsworth Library, will shut their doors.

Other Bury libraries terminating operations on Wednesday, December 20, include Brandlesholme, Castle Leisure Centre, Moorside, Topping Fold, Tottington, Unsworth and Whitefield.

Meanwhile, four libraries - Bury, Radcliffe, Ramsbottom and Prestwich - will remain open, but with reduced opening hours. Prestwich Library will close on Saturdays from May 2018.

A glimmer of hope would be for community groups win successful bids to take over the running of the sites.

Bury Council received a number of business plans in relation to six of the libraries set to close: Coronation Road, Dumers Lane, Topping Fold, Tottington, Unsworth and Whitefield.

Among applicants are Friends of Dumers Lane Community Centre.

Sue Fernandez, who has been influential in the Dumers Lane campaign, said: "I am really disappointed that even with the closure of 10 libraries, the Council does not have the money to keep the remaining sites running their current service.

"They are reducing access and causing disruption to existing community groups.

"There is a strong need in Dumers and a viability. But it is a waiting game."

Staff and members at the libraries were informed of the news last week.

A council spokesperson said: "Successful groups will be contacted following the panel’s initial recommendations and be given the opportunity to develop their projects further with support from officers.

"The final decision will not be made until the cabinet meeting of January 31 with the official handover of the buildings following in early February."

Under new opening times, Radcliffe, Ramsbottom and Bury libraries will be closed on Mondays.

They will be open between 10am and 4.30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, between 12.30 and 7pm on Thursday, and between 9.30am and 1pm on Saturday.

The silver lining for the market town is that Radcliffe Library will remain open.

Cllr Catherine Preston, who represents Radcliffe East, said: "I am very very pleased Radcliffe Library will stay open.

"We have fought very hard but that does not mean to say we are not sorry that the others have closed.

"The people of Radcliffe are very proud of their library and it would have been terrible if it had shut as well."

Bury Council leader, Cllr Rishi Shori, who represents Radcliffe West ward, said: "I'm delighted that, following Radcliffe councillors' successful campaign, Radcliffe Library will remain open.

"The library is one of the most popular in terms of usage in the whole borough and on that basis, it was vital that it remained an accessible community asset.

"Due to government cuts, we have had to vary the opening times. However, we are confident it will remain a key part of the Radcliffe community for many many years to come."