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Council to discuss future of libraries in Northamptonshire

Councillors agreed the budget, which includes plans to shut 21 libraries and freeze staff pay Credit: ITV News Anglia

The future of libraries in Northamptonshire will be discussed by councillors today.

The County Council will discuss plans on how to keep libraries in the county open until August 31st 2018.

It comes after councillors agreed a new budget, which includes plans to shut 21 libraries.

The Cabinet meeting will take place this afternoon Credit: ITV News Anglia

Recently, Northamptonshire County Council was on the brink of financial failure.

But the financially-troubled authority has agreed a budget involving nearly £40m of cuts.

The new plans include scrapping all bus subsidies, cutting highways and trading standards budgets and closing 21 smaller libraries unless community groups run them instead.

Protestors outside Northamptonshire County Council Credit: ITV News Anglia

Community groups who want to establish an independent library will have until the end of May to submit a form to either purchase or take on the leasehold for their local library.

The report also outlines the proposed opening hours for libraries from April 1st, including an end to Sunday opening at all libraries and for the 21 libraries earmarked for closure to open for a minimum of three days a week.

County council cabinet member for public health and wellbeing Cllr Sylvia Hughes said: “I hope that the proposed strategy and timetable for the future delivery of library services will offer some clarity for communities about what will be happening with their local library now that the final budget has been set.

“Over the coming months we will be talking to community groups interested in setting up an independent library and what role we can play in supporting them during the transition period.”