Proposed Northants library closures ‘could have disastrous effect on communities’

Kingsthorpe library is among one of the 28 libraries, which could face closure.
Kingsthorpe library is among one of the 28 libraries, which could face closure.

Unison is concerned proposals by Northamptonshire County Council, which could result in the closure of up to 28 libraries across the county, is just the beginning of deeper cuts that will have a ‘disastrous’ effect on communities.

The proposed closures are part of a package designed to save £9.6m in Northamptonshire with libraries in Middleton Cheney, Woodford Halse and Brackley under threat.

Other cost-saving measures include a reduction in highway maintenance services, halving the number of trading standards officers, reduced funding for children’s centres and the removal of bus subsidies.

Local Unison branch secretary Penny Smith said: “If these proposals go ahead they will have a disastrous effect on local communities but my main concern is that they are just the beginning of something even worse.

“If that’s what they need to do to save £9.6m, what are they going to have to do to save another £26 million?

“Local services have already been cut to the bone. I am very concerned about what’s going to happen next.”

The council needs to make further savings of £26m by December, leading to fears of even deeper cuts to local services such as bus services, highways and trading standards and job loses among the council workers who provide those services.

Libraries in Woodford Halse and Middleton Cheney are most at danger of being closed down.

Northants county council has proposed three options to save money, with option one allowing Woodford Halse and Middleton Cheney libraries being offered to external organisations to run.

Options two and three would see both libraries close, and option three would also see Brackley Library close its doors.

The proposals are due to be discussed at a council meeting tomorrow, Thursday.