OPENING hours at libraries across Basingstoke and Deane are set to be reduced as part of countywide plans to save almost £500,000.

The changes will come into effect from April 1 as Hampshire County Council looks to shed £446,000 from its library budget.

At Basingstoke Discovery Centre, in Festival Place, the only change will be on Sundays when the centre will open at noon and close at 4pm – two hours less than the current operating hours of 11am to 5pm.

Tadley library will now close on Tuesdays but will open at 9am – half-an-hour earlier – on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Meanwhile, in Chineham, the library will close at 5pm on Fridays rather than 7pm.

Across Hampshire’s entire library portfolio, 112 hours will be cut at an average of 5.8hours per facility and will result in a loss of 17 full-time jobs.

A consultation was held with library users last year and it generated more than 5,500 responses.

Councillor Keith Chapman, executive lead member for culture and recreation, said county bosses had tried to accommodate all requests where possible.

He said: “I would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to our consultation. Although we were not able to meet everyone’s requests, we have hopefully met the majority.

“It is a tough decision to reduce hours and staff numbers, but after two years of modernising the service, this was our last option.”

Elsewhere in the borough, South Ham library is proposed to close at 5pm rather than 7pm on Tuesdays while no changes are planned at Overton and Kingsclere libraries.

The changes were due to be considered by Cllr Chapman at his decision day today.