Northamptonshire libraries closure plans on ice - for now

Northamptonshire County Council has outlined the tough criteria for any group looking to take over their local library.
Northamptonshire County Council has outlined the tough criteria for any group looking to take over their local library.

A decision to stop funding 21 Northamptonshire libraries has been placed on hold.

Northamptonshire County Council had said earlier this year it could no longer afford to pay for the threatened libraries to stay open because of its ongoing financial crisis.

It invited community groups to bid to run them instead.

But last month it was revealed that the libraries may close on September 30, despite the ongoing transfer process, because the council could not afford to run them beyond that date.

There is also a series of legal challenges under way in opposition to the council’s plans.

A Northamptonshire County Council spokesman said: “A decision has been made to pause the proposed changes to the local library service.

“There are three principal reasons for this pause. The meetings we have held with community groups and interested parties have been hugely beneficial and in order to fully consider the points raised at these sessions, more time is required. The applications we have received to establish independent libraries also require further consideration, and the council has issued a second Section 114 notice. Therefore, work is now being undertaken to identity priority areas of council spend. Only when this work is complete can we make informed decisions about future service provision.

“We want to thank all those who have taken part in the process to date and understand this introduces a further period of uncertainty. However, we all share the commitment to making sure any changes are introduced in a properly considered way.

“Any closures – whether temporary or otherwise – will now not take place until there has been further consideration of the issues and the outcome of this work is known.”

The full list of libraries earmarked for closure:

Abington, Danesholme, Deanshanger, Desborough, Earls Barton, Far Cotton, Finedon, Higham Ferrers, Irchester, Kingsthorpe, Long Buckby, Middleton Cheney, Moulton, Raunds, Roade, Rothwell, St James, Thrapston, Wollaston, Woodford Halse and Wootton Fields.