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Hundreds protest against Bath library move

Photo: ITV News

Weekend in Bath are usually busy, but fairly tranquil affairs. Not today. Plans to move the library to a council building have infuriated local people.

Credit: ITV West Country

They were joined by author and journalist Bel Mooney.

I was created by libraries in Liverpool and Wiltshire, I owe my education in part to public libraries, and in Bath of all places, Bath which is a great cultural centre, to downgrade its central library seems to me to be outrageous, I was so shocked.

– Bel mooney, author
Credit: ITV West Country

The organiser of a petition which so far has gathered more than 2,000 signatures says that the central library is a valuable community asset.

First of all, it's not just a question of moving. If it was moving like for like, just a few blocks away, that's not a big deal. But this is a community space, and a library in the centre of Bath, it serves all members of the community, 43,000 people a month walk in here from every walk of life.

– dionne pemberton, protest organiser
Credit: ITV West Country

The council says it needs to save £49 million over the next four years, and moving the library would, along with other cuts, could help achieve this.

I would like to think that the community will understand that the council is doing its absolute best to retain as much of all the services that we can. But given the constraints that we have financially we have to do the best that we can. So we have to rationalise and we have to combine as much as we possibly can. And that's what we've done here.

– CLLR MARTIN VEAL, B&NES COUNCIL
Credit: ITV West Country

Bath is famed for its literary connections - author Jane Austen lived here - but it may just be about to lose a library at the very heart of the city.