A COMMUNITY leader has hit out at after a library was awarded a six-figure sum to upgrade facilities when her own library is closing.

Sealand councillor Christine Jones has described the news that Buckley Library is receiving £300,000 to upgrade its facilities less than a month after Flintshire Council confirmed Garden City will close as part of a money-saving exercise as a “slap in the face”.

Cllr Jones believes Flintshire Council’s successful grant application to the Welsh Assembly Government’s Community Learning Libraries capital programme should have included additional funding to safeguard the future of Garden City Library and three others in Flintshire.

“I’m absolutely disgusted about this, it is a complete slap in the face,” she said.

“It was only about £24,000 they were saving by closing our library and then they get a grant worth £300,000 to help another library.

“Everyone is so upset about losing our library and this just makes it so much worse.”

Cllr Jones said she did not have a problem with Buckley Library being awarded the funding, but had a problem with the council making the application when it was closing up to four of its libraries.

“I find it obscene what has gone on,” she added.

“We will soon be left without a library and I am concerned about the site when it becomes vacant.”

Lawrence Rawsthorne, Flintshire’s head of culture and leisure, defended the grant application.

He said: “This is a capital grant to remodel and extend a well used library facility at Buckley which is the last of the five busiest libraries in the county to benefit from Welsh Assembly Government investment.

“It is unlikely that a funding bid for a part-time library with lower levels of use would have been successful in what was a very competitive bidding situation.”

This week community leaders gathered at the library to celebrate the grant award.

Buckley councillor Dennis Hutchinson said: “This is a lot of funding to secure and will help us modernise the facility and safeguard its future.”

Cllr Ron Hampson added: “Full marks should go to the Welsh Assembly Government for providing us with this funding in difficult economic times.
“We are a big town and need facilities to match.”