PLANS that will see Southampton City Council no longer running six libraries have been stalled by opposition councillors.

The Conservative opposition have called in the decision to stop running the six facilities for further scrutiny, saying there hasn’t been enough information provided about whether groups will come forward to run them.

It means the plans must be halted until they are scrutinised again although Labour council chiefs have insisted they are “confident” groups will come forward to take on all five of the closure-threatened library buildings.

The move will save the council £286,000 a year but will cost six jobs and have been fiercely attacked by critics, including library users and television naturalist Chris Packham.

The libraries will no longer be run by the council from April 1, although council leader Simon Letts has said the deadline will be extended if discussions are ongoing about a takeover.

The plans, which will see bids invited for Millbrook, Weston, Thornhill, Cobbett Road and Burgess Road libraries and an end of the mobile service, were rubber-stamped last week at a heated cabinet meeting.

Voices were raised on a number of occasions during the course of the meeting, with one resident shouting “you should be ashamed of yourselves” from the gallery after the decision was agreed.

Cllr Letts repeatedly stressed that the decision was not to shut the libraries, but to allow them to be taken over and kept open by other groups.

But the opposition have said not enough information has been provided about who those groups are.

And now they will be subject to more debate after the chairman of the council’s overview and scrutiny management committee called the decision in, meaning it will have to go back before the committee and be approved again by the cabinet.

Dan Fitzhenry, who is also Conservative deputy leader, said: “The reason we are doing it is we don’t think there has been sufficient acknowledgement of what the replacement service will be and there hasn’t been sufficient information on that.

“It’s almost as though they are saying ‘we’re going to shut them and hope someone will come along to run them’.

“We fundamentally disagree with the decision and we wouldn’t be doing it.”

Satvir Kaur, Labour’s cabinet member for leisure, said: “I’m happy for it to be called in, all members including the opposition have a right to scrutinise it and if they want to scrutinise it further that’s fine, it’s part of the democratic process.”

Referring to the cabinet’s decision to approve the plans she said: “I feel it was an informed decision as we went out to consultation which was very thorough and I’m just keen to progress.”