COUNCIL chiefs have confirmed the controversial closure of Hoole Library will take place this month but still need to sort out how and when it will be replaced.
Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) is closing the ageing Hoole Road building on October 30 and hopes to relocate the facility and run it with volunteers.
Talks are ongoing about moving the library to Hoole Community Centre on Westminster Road but an agreement has not yet been reached.
But opposition councillors have strong reservations about the plans and fear it will be six months before a library returns to Hoole.
They also fear the plans raise questions over the council’s commitment to libraries across the borough.
Cllr Stuart Parker, executive member for culture and recreation, said: “CWaC is committed to maintaining a robust, fit-for-purpose library service and our priority is to ensure the continuation of library provision within the Hoole area for the benefit of local residents.
“Nobody can deny the current situation is completely unacceptable, both for staff and visitors alike and we are concentrating on working with Hoole Community Trust and local members to develop a new community library at the centre in Westminster Road.
“By using new technology it will be possible to offer Hoole residents a flexible library service to suit community needs. Changing the way we work to keep up with the modern needs of our communities, while not wasting taxpayers’ money on unused resources, can impact positively on the services we provide.”
The current wooden library building has been forced to close as it suffers from damp and is no longer fit for purpose.
CWaC plans to transfer librarians to other branches and use volunteers to run the new library with some support from a librarian.
Cllr Parker said: “The community centre in Westminster Road is ideally located to provide a library service, with a central location and access on foot from other parts of the community and adequate parking.
“It is near to shops and other services used by residents and we hope that Hoole Community Trust will work with us to provide a service from here with increased opening hours, supported by staff at Great Boughton Library.
“While our plans progress we will continue to look for a temporary solution to maintain service delivery.
“The four part-time library staff currently based at Hoole Library will be redeployed to other libraries and the opening hours at Great Boughton library will be extended in line with Upton.”
See full story in the Chester Leader