Published: January 25, 2011
No last-minute reprieve for closure-threatened Highbridge Library

Residents and councillors in Highbridge have reacted with dismay to this week's announcement by Somerset County Council that there will be no last-minute reprieve for the town's library.

The chances of the closure-threatened library in Market Street being saved have dimmed after the council announced plans to retain nine threatened libraries, but Highbridge was not among them.

Burnham-On-Sea.com reported last month that the library is on a hit list of 20 across Somerset which the council wants to wind down as part of a £75million cost-cutting exercise. It is seeking community volunteers to run it.

Following a consultation exercise, the County Council has this week unveiled a new proposal where nine libraries - Cheddar, Glastonbury, Martock, Somerton, Ilminster, Shepton Mallet, Dulverton, Castle Cary and Wiveliscombe - could be retained.

However, six libraries could still be shut in the current year - Highbridge, Porlock, Watchet, Sunningdale, Bishops Lydeard and Bruton.

Council leader Ken Maddock said: "We have listened to what people said and put our residents' views at the heart of our decision making. We carried out a hugely effective public consultation and the overwhelming message was that people understood the savings needed but wanted us to spread the cuts more evenly - that's what we're looking to do."

The County Council has previously said that Highbridge Library is among the worst performing libraries in Somerset by visitor numbers, making it difficult to sustain. A final decision on its future will be taken in February 2011.

 


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