Wiltshire

Swindon library closures: Campaigners urge rethink

Save Swindon's Libaries Image copyright Sarch Church
Image caption Campaigners from Save Swindon's Libraries have called for a 'rethink' on the proposals

Campaigners have called for a "rethink" after plans to close 11 of Swindon's 15 libraries were approved.

Swindon Borough Council needs to save £1.5m from its libraries budget by 2020.

Four 'core' libraries will remain open and the council said it would look to extend opening hours and encourage volunteer-led library services.

Shirley Burnham, from Save Swindon's Libraries, said they want "the town consulted properly".

"We hope for a rethink...a well costed and well thought out alternative," she said.

'Cannot go on'

Under the proposals, Central, West, Highworth and North libraries will remain open.

The council has also approved a one-off grant of £500k to invest in self-service technology and develop volunteer led library service.

Cllr Mary Martin, cabinet member for communities, said: "With an increasing amount of our budget being spent on vulnerable people in our community we cannot go on as we are.

"The core network proposed in the library strategy will ensure 85 % of households will live less than two miles from a library and that figure will increase further as we are intent on working with the community to develop ways of enhancing the library provision."

There will be an eight-week consultation on the proposals.

If the plans go ahead, library funding will be reduced from June 2017.

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