Proposed Emsworth library move opposed

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MORE than two thirds of people in Emsworth who answered questions about the library are against its proposed move.

Nearly 450 residents responded to Hampshire County Council’s consultation, with more than 60 per cent opposing the move to the Community Centre.

Around one third of those asked either agreed with the move from its current site in St Peter’s Square or had no preference either way.

Hampshire County Counil insist a final decision is yet to be taken, but that estimated savings of £30,000 are vital to the library’s future.

In a letter to the Observer, councillor Keith Chapman, executive member for culture, recreation and countryside, said: “I realise this is an emotive subject for the residents of Emsworth.

“Indeed, one resident presented me with a petition of over 1,000 signatures of people who would like the library to stay where it is.

“But I would like to put this into context. When we began this consultation on the proposed moved in July, our overall savings target to April 2017 had not yet been set.

“We now know that the savings target is 14 per cent and it is likely that similar savings will need to be found after that. This is on top of the 25 per cent savings we have already made.

“In light of the continued financial reductions we are facing, we have had to look very hard at where we can find savings.

“At the same time, we are committed to transforming Hampshire’s library service to ensure a sustainable and vibrant service, fit for the future, which reflects the needs of future generations.

“Moving Emsworth library from a leasehold building into the Community Association will help secure the library’s future and save around £30,000 each year. We are not in a position where we can afford to ignore this saving.”

Mr Chapman said he had concerns over the proposed layout, over parking and moving to a less central location.

But he said changes and alterations to the detail of the proposals could be made to ‘find a proposal that is more agreeable for everyone’.