Yaxley residents unite in bid to save library

A large crowd came to hear the latest updates on the future of the at-risk Yaxley Library. Picture: BEN DAVIS/Peterborough ET
A large crowd came to hear the latest updates on the future of the at-risk Yaxley Library. Picture: BEN DAVIS/Peterborough ET
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VILLAGERS have united to fight plans to cut opening hours at their library.

Operating hours at Yaxley Library, in Lansdowne Road, Yaxley, could be cut by four hours a week to 23 hours - saving £16,000 - if plans by Cambridgeshire County Council go ahead.

About 100 people turned out for a public meeting to voice their concerns at the proposals and to suggest alternatives.

The packed room heard a presentation from representatives from Cambridgeshire County Council, before being invited to ask questions of the officials.

Yaxley Parish Councillor Anne Rees said: “The presentation was very, very good - they handled the meeting well.

“People here are very worried about the future of the library and we were there to ask them to look into what ways we can go around saving it.

“The officers were happy to listen to our suggestions but there were some things we disagreed on.

“They said the population here is going down by four per cent - but we have many unsold houses and the population here is only going to get bigger.

“We are also very concerned about the three women who work in the library keeping their jobs.

She added: “The council might want to run it with less staff but it wouldn’t run properly.”

When the future of the library was first threatened in November last year, 1,900 villagers signed a petition urging decision-makers to keep it open.

One of the ideas being pursued is bringing the Yaxley Community Shop, on Malting Square, Broadway Shopping Centre, into the library and charging it market rate for rent.

Another proposal is outsourcing library provisions to a trust - much like Peterborough City Council’s relationship with Vivacity.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s director of libraries, learning and culture Mike Hosking, who chaired the meeting, said; “One option discussed is working with a charitable trust.

“That would help with the financial side of things and we would be able to make the most of getting tax benefits.

He added: “We are in a position where libraries across the county need to save 48 per cent of their budget, which works out to about £3.2 million.

“For Yaxley, that would be between £15,000 to £16,000.

“Unless we can find some additional funding there will be a significant reduction and permanent closure is being considered.

“For the community shop we have an ongoing dialogue with Huntingdonshire District Council.”

The meeting was the latest in a string of community consultations launched by Cambridgeshire County Council.