CIVIC chiefs in Southampton have been accused of failing to listen to residents' views in putting forward plans that could see six city libraries close.

Council leaders have also been urged to find different ways to fund the libraries, by finding the funding from housing and education budgets.

The council's cabinet is being recommended to stop running five city libraries and the mobile service at its meeting on Tuesday (Aug 18).

If the recommendation is approved the council will stop running Cobbett Road, Burgess Road, Weston, Thornhill and Millbrook libraries by next April, a move that would save £286,000 a year and cost six jobs.

The council's overview and scrutiny management committee, the body which looks into upcoming decisions, recommended that the cabinet delay a decision and that closures should not take place until alternative provisions are in place.

Council chiefs say they believe community groups will come forward to take them on, but community groups and opposition councillors say they don't believe that is realistic.

Conservative opposition leader Jeremy Moulton, pictured below, said that as children and council tenants benefit from libraries the council should look at whether funding can come from Pupil Premium or the housing revenue account.

Daily Echo: Jeremy Moulton

He pointed to £9m of saving proposals put forward by the council this week, the majority of which is changes to borrowing and debt arrangements, saying: "If you can use clever accountancy to find £8m of savings then you can surely find £286,000 to keep the libraries open?"

The council says 7,706 people responded to consultation and 53 per cent supported the preferred option to run library services from Bitterne, Central, Portswood, Woolston, Shirley and Lordshill libraries.

Some residents have also said they were disappointed none of the recommendations they made, including charging for services and events, maximising income opportunities and creating a charitable trust to run them, had been taken into account.

They were also critical of the way the consultation questions were phrased, saying there were not different options presented to residents but variations of the same outcome.

Kevin Lancashire, chairman of the Friends of Cobbett Road Library, said: "I'm not surprised but obviously I am very disappointing.

"The consultation that took place, I can't say they have taken on any of the recommendations that people put to them at all.

"Closing Cobbett Road would be an immense loss."

And Dr Wendy Leeks, a user of Burgess Road Library, said: "The consultation show clearly that Burgess Road has a large amount of support from people who use it."

But Labour leisure chief Satvir Kaur, pictured below, said: "each alternative we have looked at in turn to see if they are viable, but they are not viable."

Daily Echo: Cllr Satvir Kaur (34971317)

She added: "It would be a folly for us not to make it better and more sustainable. It is not sustainable in the current climate."

She said not running the libraries would still leave 99 per cent of residents with one-and-a-half miles of a library.