Community fights back for library
ONE community is fighting hard to keep its library open for as many hours as possible.
New plans are afoot to keep Up Hatherley's library open for 35 hours a week. This is less than its current 47 hours, but more than the 28 originally proposed for the Hulbert Crescent facility.
It comes as the future of all county libraries is under the spotlight.
Cheltenham Borough Councillors Andrew McKinlay and Roger Whyborn (LD, Up Hatherley) have written to everyone in the parish seeking their views.
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Mr Roger Whyborn said: "Nobody wants to see cuts, but I think overall we have done quite well in Up Hatherley. When we were first meeting they were talking of going down to around 28 hours and three-and-a-half days.
"Because of the efforts of people within the community collecting signatures we have managed to claw a great deal back. I would rather not have any cuts at all, but we have not done too badly."
Mr McKinlay added: "There is obviously a cut in hours, and it is a lot better, but it is still a cut.
"The library could only open two nights a week and that might concern workers.
"It needs to suit people and if people are not happy about the changes in the hours then they need to make their objections known."
Consultation on the scheme is now running and Up Hatherley parish council chairman Stuart Fowler believes the community will be able to accept the new opening hours.
He said: "I have not heard any vibrations from the community, so I think people will be able to live with them. Up Hatherley came top of the shop for library usage during the county council's studies and I think that has been recognised. I don't believe people will be inconvenienced by the new hours."
If the proposals go ahead, on Mondays and Tuesdays the library could open 9.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 5.30pm instead of 9am to 7pm. It will remain closed on Wednesday.
On Thursdays it would open from 9.30am to 1pm and again 2pm to 7pm instead of 9am to 7pm, and on Fridays it would open from 1pm to 7pm rather than 9am to 7pm.
On Saturdays, the library could open its doors at 9.30am instead of 9am. It would close at 4pm.