SEVENTEEN mobile library stops are to be saved from cuts – but county bosses are pressing ahead with axing paid staff at three libraries.

A mobile service for under fives is also set to be scrapped as part of £93million cuts passed by the Tory led administration earlier this year.

Following a three month consultation a total of 98 stops will be ditched across Hampshire instead of 115 initially planned.

Those saved include The Limes Pub, Fareham, Dene Way, Ashurst, the community hall in Woodlands, Crampmoor Lane in Ampfield and Middle Wallop army camp.

Stops now facing the chop are three in Fareham, six in Eastleigh, seven in the Romsey area, ten around Winchester and 24 in the New Forest.

But some members of an influential cross party committee yesterday condemned the cuts.

Cuts criticised Councillor Peter Chegwyn, Liberal Democrat opposition spokesman for culture and communities, said: “I find this profoundly depressing.

“It is an ongoing remorseless running down of library services.”

Since 2009 there has been nearly a 25 per cent cut in spending on the library service, according to an official report – which also reveals the number of library visits has dropped by 9.2 per cent during that period.

However, Fareham county council councillor Chris Wood said: “It is going down because the opening hours are going down. I think it is quite sad we have got to this stage.”

As reported, Milford-on-Sea library is set to lose its staff – with the hope local volunteers will run it.

A consultation found 81 per cent said they would use it if it continued.

Milford and Hordle conservative and county councillor Alan Rice said a village meeting about the library’s future saw at least 20 people expressing interest in volunteering.

He said: “I think there may be some comprise where it might stay open for part of the week.”

Gosport county councillor Shaun Cully said the cuts to Milford-on-Sea and two other Hampshire libraries, were understandable because they were the least used in Hampshire.

But he opposed closure of the family library link services for the under fives in nurseries, playgroups and children’s centres operating in Havant, Portchester and Gosport for 30 years.

All those consulted were against the closure, which will be in May 2016 when the vehicle lease runs out.

The cuts will be rubber stamped on September16 while plans for Milford-on-Sea will be agreed in December to allow volunteers to come forward.

Councillor Keith Chapman, executive member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside, said: “Where there are recommendations to reduce or change services, I will be carefully considering what appropriate, alternative provision is available nearby and that provision is protected for as many local people as possible.”