Hampshire libraries saved from big cut in opening hours

CHANGES Some libraries will see a reduction in opening hours
CHANGES Some libraries will see a reduction in opening hours
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LIBRARIES have been saved from drastic cuts to opening hours after public opposition.

Hampshire County Council planned to slash opening times at its libraries to help meet budget cuts.

But after holding a public consultation into the plans, the council has let many libraries off the hook. Some will still be made to open later and close earlier.

One of the libraries now spared from cuts to its opening hours is Elson Library in Gosport.

Original plans would have seen it close on Mondays and lose its late-night opening on Tuesdays.

But after a campaign by library staff which saw usage go up and objections from 93 users, the council abandoned the proposal.

Lib Dem library spokesman Cllr Peter Chegwyn said: ‘This would have been a cut too far and would have put the whole future of Elson Library in doubt.

‘Thanks to public pressure it has been reversed. I’m absolutely delighted and I will give credit to the county council for listening to the public.’

Some libraries across The News’ area will still see reductions but many have been altered in line with feedback from users.

In total, 32 hours will be lost across all libraries.

Havant’s library will close completely on Sundays, Portchester’s on Tuesdays and Stubbington’s on Wednesdays.

Many libraries will get to keep their late-night opening times.

The county councillor in charge of culture and recreation Cllr Keith Chapman said: ‘I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to our consultation. Although we were not able to meet everyone’s requests, we have hopefully met the majority.

‘It is a tough decision to reduce hours and staff numbers but this was our last option.’

Changes will come into effect from April 1. To see your library’s new opening times in full, visit hants.gov.uk/library.