CAMPAIGNERS have vowed to fight against the potential closure of five libraries in Southampton.

Civic council chiefs announced today they are launching a review of the city's libraries.

In their proposals, Cobbett Road, Burgess Road, Weston, Thornhill and Millbrook libraries could close unless community groups come forward to take them on.

But campaigners - who fought against proposed reduction in hours just two years ago - say they will continue the battle to keep them open.

Not running the five libraries could save the council £268,000 a year.

The review, launched today, will last for 12 weeks and council leaders say it will be a “long process”, with the results not likely to be factored into next year's budget.

A council report says the review will see the five libraries will be “made available for community led initiatives or disposal”, while officers admit that if community groups do not come forward “this may lead to the closure of up to five libraries”.

Today campaigners have fired the starting gun in their latest battle against the council.

Kevin Lancashire, chairman of the Friends of Cobbett Road Library, said: “It's extremely disappointing, after all of our efforts over the last few years.

“It would appear that the message hasn't got through that libraries are a vital component of the community, and are an incredibly valuable asset for their communities.

“The Friends of Cobbett Road Library is a very strong group which has been going for many years, but I wouldn't think it would necessarily be the same in the other libraries and it's debatable whether they would be able to have community groups running them.

“This means we will redouble our efforts and give it a go because once these assets are gone, they're gone and they won't be replaced.

“Where there's a will there's a way.”

For more on the budget plans click here.