A TOP Government minister could be asked to step in and save five Bolton libraries earmarked for the axe.

Bolton Council’s decision- making Executive voted last week to close five of the borough’s libraries — Astley Bridge, Castle Hill, Heaton, Highfield and Oxford Grove — in a bid to save £400,000.

The Save Bolton’s Libraries campaign group is set to meet with Unison union officials tonight to discuss what options are available to them to try to keep the branches open.

One of the options being considered is writing to Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt asking for him to intervene.

Geoffrey Dron, a former solicitor who is working with the campaigners, said: “We have got to sit down and discuss the options because there is a lot of detail to go through.

Some of the methodology the council has used is suspect and some of the stats are ropey.

“It is probably going to take a couple of weeks to formulate something but first we need to sit down and talk.”

Another option is going for a judicial review but The Bolton News understands that campaigners want to await the outcome of a High Court review into the decision of Brent Council in London to closure half its libraries.

Tom Hanley, chairman of the Save Bolton’s Libraries campaign, said: “We will consider a number of options in the next few days, including a legal challenge, as well as building on the massive public anger already expressed by thousands of people across Bolton.”

Under the proposal being considered, the Central Library, in Le Mans Crescent, would be open on Sundays which also means Bolton Museum and the aquarium can also open.

The libraries at Farnworth, Harwood, Horwich, Little Lever and Westhoughton would open for 46 hours per week while those in Breightmet and High Street will be open for 40 hours per week.

The facilities in Bromley Cross and Blackrod libraries would see their hours reduced to 24 per week, from 26.5 and 24.5 respectively.

The proposals are now subject to a six-week consultation.