Today the Gazette launches a campaign to save three libraries on our patch from closing.

It comes after yesterday Hampshire County Council announced plans to close ten libraries - including South Ham, Chineham and Odiham. 

The news has been come as a blow to residents who have contacted this newspaper in their dozens to condemn the news as 'devastating' and 'upsetting'. 

Gazette editor Katie French said: "Libraries play a huge role in the communities they serve and are one of few places in society that are free and easily accessible to everyone. 

"Our reporters have spent time talking to library users over the last few days and the general consensus is people are devastated to see them go. Chineham, Odiham and South Ham are well-used by people of all ages and to lose them would be a travesty. 

"We hope through this campaign we will be able to urge Hampshire County Councillor Sean Woodward to reconsider." 

The campaign has been praised and supported by councillors from across the town. 

Cllr Andy McCormick praised the Gazette's campaign and said: "This is why local press is important." 

In a letter, signed by Cllr McCormick among others, it reads: "We would like to pledge our 100% support for the Basingstoke Gazette's "save our Libraries" campaign.

"South Ham Library is a valuable community asset forming part of an important range of community services on offer in the Westside complex in Paddock Road.

"In addition to the traditional library activities of borrowing books and reading clubs, the library offers free internet access to those who need it, which is an essential requirement for many of our disadvantaged residents wanting to access key public services only available online.

"If anything, we should be having *more* branch libraries, or arranging bus services from neighbouring estates, e.g. Kempshott, Winklebury and Brighton Hill, so that people without cars, young and old, can access libraries.

"Please sign our online petition at" 

The letter was signed by Cllr Gary Watts, South Ham Cllr Colin Regan, South Ham Cllr Sean Keating, South Ham, Cllr Tony Jones, Buskskin Cllr Stephanie Grant, Buckskin.

Hampshire County Council say no decision will be made until the public consultation closes in March. Conservative County Councillor Seán Woodward will be the one to make the decision. 

What YOU can do to help 

Hampshire County Council is running a public consultation and is asking for residents to share their views on the proposed closure. 

It only takes a few minutes to respond. You can do so: 

The consultation closes on March 18 2020. 

The authority says no decisions will be made on any of these proposals, until people have had the opportunity to give their views. Feedback received will inform decisions to be made by Cllr Seán Woodward, the executive Member for recreation and heritage in summer 2020.

WRITE to man in charge 

Conservative Councillor Seán Woodward will be making the final decision. You can email he


Use the tag #SaveOurLibraries on social media. 

TELL us why libraries matter to you! 

We want to hear from anyone who has an opinion on this. Email us at or get in touch on social media. 

SIGN petitions  

Two petitions have been created to protect Chineham and South Ham from closure.

They can be signed here: 

South Ham 


SHOUT about it on social media 

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are powerful tools for communicating.

Let Hampshire County Council know your thoughts about its plans by sharing your view online.

Make sure you use the hashtag #SaveOurLibraries.