Contentious plan for Emsworth library gets go-ahead

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CONTROVERSIAL plans to move a library into a community centre were approved.

Councillor Keith Chapman, in charge of libraries in Hampshire, made the decision to move the library from St Peter’s Square in Emsworth to the town’s community centre in North Street.

More than 1,000 people signed a petition calling for the library to stay put and almost 70 per cent of people in a consultation wanted it to remain in the town centre.

The move will save Hampshire County Council around £30,000 a year.

Officials said it will be moving into ‘a bright and welcoming building’ and will be near new residential development, Emsworth museum and a new doctors’ surgery.

Cllr Chapman said: ‘Moving libraries out of stand alone buildings into larger community buildings where costs can be shared is an effective way of making budget savings without impacting on the service.

‘The move is as an opportunity to install new self service equipment so opening hours can be increased, and to buy a wide range of new books and resources for the library.’

He said it was an opportunity to create a ‘community hub’.