LEYBURN is prepared to pull together to save services threatened by the cuts, a senior councillor claims.

Fleur Butler, leader of Richmondshire District Council and ward councillor for Leyburn, has spoken out as local authorities try to find savings in the wake of severe funding cuts imposed by the Government.

She said there was a “realism”

among residents that there was no more money to provide services like libraries and tourist information in the same way.

The district council is proposing to close the town’s tourism information centre, while the county council is consulting on plans to withdraw funding from the library.

Although concerned residents said at a recent public meeting that they did not want a library service run by volunteers, Coun Butler said that if volunteers were needed, they would come forward.

She said: “Councillors are working hard to try to see what a partly-volunteer library would look like, and how much money the county would be willing to put in to support Leyburn.

“But this creative process is not just for the councillors.

The cuts seem to have brought many others forward to work together.”

The councillor, who chairs the Lower Wensleydale Economic Forum, said Leyburn was good at getting behind the things that people thought were important.

She added: “There was huge support for the cinema, and also for the development at the Station Road, both of which needed volunteers to manage, and although these didn’t get off the ground, it was not due to lack of community effort.

“I am really pleased that the community spirit of Leyburn is still rising to the occasion.

“I have been receiving letters from Leyburn locals offering their services to save the library.”

Talking about the plans to replace the tourist information centre with a tourist information point, she said: “We don’t necessarily want the tourist information centre to close, but most importantly, we want to give tourists the best quality advice when they come to Leyburn.

“If this means that businesses work with the district council to make the new information point a success, then that is good for Leyburn.”

She added: “The unintended consequence of all this change has apparently been to release a spirit of ‘make do and mend’ by local people until the economic situation improves.”

􀁥What do you think about the cuts to services in Leyburn?

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