MANY mobile library stops in the borough could be axed under Hampshire County Council’s plans to cut costs.

The council has drawn up a list of mobile library stops that will be withdrawn in 2015, in a bid to make budget savings of 12 per cent.

The county intends to cut one of its mobile library vehicles from January 2015, reducing the number from four to three – resulting in approximately one third of mobile library stops being cut.

Under the proposals, 16 stops in Basingstoke and Deane will be withdrawn. These include two in Basingstoke at Hanover Gardens, in Cranbourne, and at Pemberley House, a care home in Grove Road.

Rural communities in Litchfield, Pamber Heath, Woolton Hill, Bramley, Cliddesden, Sherfield-on-Loddon and Stratfield Saye also face losing their mobile library service.

The council has also warned that the majority of the surviving stops will also be affected as new routes and timetables will be drawn up.

The council claims the mobile library stops it intends to cut all have poor usage and are expensive to run.

The service takes library books to rural communities, nursing homes and the housebound.

The county has said that almost half of its 345 mobile library stops are under-used, with almost a quarter having fewer than five visits.

It claims that the average cost per book issued from a mobile library is £2.52, compared to £1.05 from a branch library or discovery centre.

Hampshire County Councillor Tom Thacker, Conservative member for Whitchurch and Clere, spoke about the cuts at the latest Whitchurch Town Council meeting on Monday.

He said: “I don’t want rural communities being adversely affected because they tend to be more expensive to provide services for.”

He added: “We can’t call it cutting fat – people are losing their jobs. We are at the stage where there’s no give in the system. It’s tough.”

However, he reassured the council that the mobile library cuts may protect permanent libraries, such as the one in Whitchurch, as their usage could increase as a result.

Comments on the plans can be made until May 2.

For more information visit library-consultation/proposals-mobilelibraries.htm.

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