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Mobile libraries face cutbacks
Hampshire’s mobile library service is facing drastic cuts, it can be revealed.
Bosses have launched a public consultation on a shake-up of the service.
But they have warned that up to 40 of the least used stops could be axed.
This follows a review of Hampshire library opening times across the county in a bid to save £450,000.
They have on average fewer than two customers – in some cases none at all – and a total of 28 customers using the 40 stops when they visit every four weeks.
The council wants to get people’s opinions to see if they can increase usage by making changes.
If unsuccessful, the stops could be withdrawn from October 21 this year with a decision expected on September 27.
Peewit Hill, in Bursledon and Burnetts Fields, in Horton Heath, are under threat in the Eastleigh area.
In the New Forest, Ashley Baptist Church, Pundle Green in Bartley, Brook Corner in Bramshaw, Homeforde House in Brockenhurst, Sweyns Lease in East Boldre, Exbury Village Hall, Rockbourne School and The Cartwheel in Whitsbury are all among the 40 least used stops.
In the Winchester area, Greater Horseshoe Way in Knowle and the village green and Hoyle Close in Upham are on the list If withdrawn, these resources would then be channelled to increase the duration or frequency of stops where demand is higher.
The council launched a streamlined mobile library service last year following public consultation in order to save more than £500,000 a year but said it would review the service a year on.
Chris Perry, director of Age Concern, said it was taking away a service but said he understood the council needed to make savings.
He pointed out it could be the same two elderly people using the same service each time.
“It would be an absolute wrench in their service provision,” he said.
“People may not be able to get out. It may be the only pleasure they have in life.
“What I would hope is, if that is the case that they would look at another way of getting books to them.”
Drivers will be talking to customers at the 40 affected stops during July and August. You can also comment online at hants.gov.uk/library. The public consultation closes on August 24.