Deepings MP John Hayes has joined the fight to save a library after it was announced that consultation will go ahead on a raft of closures.
Lincolnshire County Council’s executive approved going out to consultation on proposals to cut £2m from its library budget by closing 32 of its 47 libraries and cutting hours at some of the remaining libraries, including Stamford Library, at a meeting on Tuesday.
Deepings Library in High Street, Market Deeping, would be one of the libraries which would close if the proposals are approved.
The consultation started on Wednesday and will run until September 30. A final decision will be made by the council’s executive in December.
Campaigners have already started a petition to save Deepings Library, which has more than 1,000 signatures. They will also hold a public meeting on Thursday at 7.15pm for 7.30pm at Deepings Community Centre.
Mr Hayes is planning to attend the meeting and has already written to the council’s executive member for libraries Nick Worth (Con) to raise his concerns.
Mr Hayes said: “I have written to Coun Worth to tell him that I share the objections of my constituents. It would be unthinkable not to have a library facility at the heart of two communities, particularly a growing and substantial community.
“I think the council needs to think again. I appreciate that the way people access information is changing and I think it is fair the council has carried out this appraisal of what is offered at the library.
“I also understand the council is under financial pressure and it is important that all services are looked at with a careful eye but there is a very strong argument for Deepings Library.”
The proposal was unanimously approved by executive members. Last week a community and public safety scrutiny committee put forward a recommendation to the executive that it went back to the drawing board and scrapped plans to go out to consultation.
County councillor for Deeping St James Phil Dilks (Lab) said he was disappointed.
He said: “I have told people if we do nothing we will certainly not save the library so I would appeal to everyone to sign the petition and make their voices heard.
“I am confident we will save the library with the support of the community.”
Coun Dilks hopes to get 3,500 signatures on the petition, which is available at shops and pubs across Market Deeping and Deeping St James, before a meeting of the full council on Friday next week to force a discussion on the matter. To sign it online visit www.change.org.uk and search for Deepings Library.
South Kesteven district councillor Judy Stevens (Ind) said she was also disappointed and urged people to attend the public meeting.
As part of the proposals, the council has suggested cutting opening hours at Stamford Library from 55 hours a week to 50. Stamford would be one of 10 priority libraries, open for 50 hours, six days a week. Bourne Library would be one of five “tier two” libraries, four of which would be open for 25 hours a week. However, Bourne Library would be open for 46 hours a week as it is run by South Kesteven District Council as part of an arrangement when it moved into the Corn Exchange with all the other town, district and county council services.
The council is offering grants to communities which step forward to run their own library of £5,000 a year to run a library and up to 4,000 books, as well as a one-off payment of £15,000 for building works and equipment.
Coun Worth (Con) said the council wanted libraries to stay open but they needed the community’s support.