Libraries at risk of closure in cost-cutting plan

PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 January 2018

Cheddar and Highbridge libraries are at risk of closure. Picture: Google Maps

Cheddar and Highbridge libraries are at risk of closure. Picture: Google Maps

Archant

Somerset County Council has said two libraries could close under its new cost-cutting plans.

Highbridge Library, in Market Street, and Cheddar Library, in Union Street, are among 15 libraries threatened with closure this week unless volunteers come forward to help.

The council has released its library consultation report to investigate ways of saving money in the county across its 34 libraries.

The two libraries have had their annual footfall analysed and compared to neighbouring facilities to evaluate their effectiveness.

Highbridge Library has an annual footfall of 3,786 people, 94 per cent less than Burnham Library which is open 34 hours a week to Highbridge’s nine and a half – the council found for the library to continue, it needed to work with the community or offer remote services.

Cheddar Library is open 24 hours a week and has more than 1,300 active ‘borrowers’ and an annual footfall of more than 31,000 but the council has said it is at risk of becoming ‘socially isolated’ and ‘digitally excluded’.

The council is exploring two different options for Cheddar; to make no changes to its service or to reach out to the community for voluntary support – each decision dependent on the future of libraries in Wells and Shepton Mallet and whether they can secure community backing.

David Hall, the council’s cabinet member for resources and economic development, said: “These are challenging financial times and we must put libraries on a sustainable financial footing for the long-term, while still delivering a modern library service across our county.

“Library services will continue across Somerset whatever the response from this consultation, but our proposals highlight keeping some libraries open may require community support.

“Where we are unable to keep libraries open, we will deliver library services in other ways such as through alternative venues or mobile library services.

“I would stress no decision about the future delivery of library services has been taken and no decision will be made until the results of this consultation have been fully analysed.”

People will be invited to give their feedback on the plans in a questionnaire from January 29.

The proposals and the form will be available from www.somerset.gov.uk/librariesconsultation

More from Weston Mercury

Visitors to Weston’s Grand Pier will be able to immerse themselves in a new state-of-the-art virtual reality experience once it is unveiled this weekend.

Read more

Weston slipped up at home to high-flying Woking, with defensive errors proving costly.

Read more
08:13

Runners dressed as reindeer, elves and Santas and raced across Weston-super-Mare beach in the Christmas Cracker 10k.

Read more
Weston-super-Mare
06:55

The following cases were heard at North Somerset Courthouse from November 5-14.

Read more
In The Dock
Yesterday, 20:00

Two of the West Country’s top performing choral groups will bring their melodic tunes to Weston this Christmas.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:00

A Cheddar school has been praised for its ‘shared vision for care and inclusion’ by an education watchdog.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:00

Parking in Burnham-on-Sea and Cheddar will be free on the two Saturdays before Christmas.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:00

A Somerset village has been awarded hundreds of thousands of pounds to create a community hub after enduring months of problems.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:00

A plan to build futuristic magnet train between Weston and Bristol has been proposed to avoid the creation of a ‘dormitory town the size of Wells’.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:50

A blue plaque commemorating one of Weston’s most famous architects will be dedicated this week.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 7°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists