Plans being drawn up to save Lee-on-the-Solent Library

PLANS are in motion to try and save a library from imminent closure.

Wednesday, 22nd July 2020, 3:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd July 2020, 5:16 pm

Lee-on-the-Solent Library has been earmarked for closure by Hampshire County Council amid proposals to save £1.76m from the council’s library budget.

But now, early discussions are under way about how to save the site for the future, with businessmen, residents and politicians getting involved in a potential project.

It is hoped that this new consortium can find a way to keep the library going for the Lee-on-the-Solent community.

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Lee-on-the-Solent library has been used by community groups for many years. Picture: Paul Jacobs (121962-1)

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At the helm of this project is Jonathan Moore from the Lee Business Association, Alison Roast from the Lee Residents Association and Councillor Graham Burgess.

Mr Moore said he was saddened when the council announced plans to close the library – but is optimistic about the future.

He said: ‘Hearing the proposal was very disappointing because the library is a place where people like to gather.

‘Not everyone who goes to the library necessarily takes out books, for example, so I think there is some discrepancy in statistics there.

‘In Gosport there are two libraries that could be closing and I think that is a huge shame.’

The news comes after Emsworth Library was also saved from closure when campaigners found a cheaper site to move the library to.

Currently, the plan is to turn Lee-on-the-Solent library into a community hub – though a business plan is yet to be drawn up.

‘This is in its very early stages at the moment,’ Mr Moore explained.

‘It would be run by volunteers and there is already a lot of interest in getting this project off the ground.

‘The library is a central place for residents and we would love to turn it into a community hub that everyone can enjoy – something like what the Discovery Centre offers in the town centre.’

Lee-on-the-Solent is one of eight Hampshire libraries that have been proposed for closure by the county council.

All remaining libraries would also reduce their opening hours by an average of 20 per cent.

A final decision on the proposal is due to be made next Tuesday.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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