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Mobile library bus stops to be shelved
MORE than half the borough’s mobile library stops will be axed when planned changes come into effect this summer.
Hampshire County Council is looking to make cutbacks to the service, which will see the number of stops reduced from 1,200 to 365.
Currently, there are 131 mobile bus stops in Basingstoke and Deane but this will be slashed to just 54 on a monthly basis.
Among those to go are Brighton Hill Pre-School, in Gershwin Road, Brighton Hill, and Leapfrog Day Nursery, in Hanmore Road, Chineham.
County chiefs have concluded a consultation on the process and claim the proposals could save as much as £600,000 a year.
Councillor Keith Chapman, executive member for culture and recreation, said: “Hampshire’s mobile library service is one of the biggest in the country, and it was neither |working efficiently nor effectively.
“Coupled with the council’s wider financial pressures, it was certainly time to review it.
“Our main priority throughout this review has been to provide a service to areas where there is very limited or no public transport and the residents do not have good access to their own transport; to provide a service to rural sheltered accommodation where public transport links are poor and to individuals who are housebound.”
A shake-up of the service could lead to as many as 14 job losses.
Cllr Chapman said: “Stops will only continue to |communities which are two miles from a library and then there will only be one stop per community. Each of the four mobiles which will be used to run the regular service will be used more efficiently by choosing routes and stops which compliment and benefit the local community.”
County councillor Jane Frankum, who represents the Basingstoke North division, said: “My initial thoughts are that this is really sad because we are trying to encourage more young people to read, and this will only make it harder for those who can’t get to a library.”
The new service will be agreed by Cllr Chapman at his decision day on March 8 and, if agreed, will be implemented by July.
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