Surrey library changes referred back to cabinet

Image caption,
The county council has proposed changes to 11 of its 52 public libraries across Surrey

Surrey County Council's plans to axe its mobile library service and devolve the running of 11 public libraries to the community have been put on hold.

At a meeting of its safer and stronger communities committee, a decision to refer the plans back to the cabinet was passed by five votes to four.

A spokesman said it would be asked to abandon the plans "pending further analysis of alternative options".

Opposition groups have described the proposals as "disastrous and flawed".

The cabinet will consider the recommendation on 1 March.

The Residents' Association and Independent Group on the Conservative-run county council had succeeded in getting the decision "called in".

'Inadequate information'

At the public meeting on Tuesday, it led the recommendation which was passed by the committee calling for the plans to be ditched.

Leader of the opposition group, Councillor Nick Harrison, said the initial decision taken by the cabinet had been taken without "adequate information".

"The criteria used to put some of the 11 libraries forward is flawed," he said.

Hazel Watson, the Liberal Democrat leader on the council, said the proposals were "disastrous" for the communities served by the libraries.

"The Conservative cabinet should now scrap the plans, which would save very small amounts of money, and put Surrey's communities and local residents first," she said.

Four of the libraries affected are in divisions represented by the Residents' Association and Independent Group - Ewell Court, Molesey, Stoneleigh and Tattenhams.

The others are New Haw, Warlingham, Byfleet, Bramley, Lingfield, Bagshot and Virginia Water.

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