IT'S the city's only independent bookshop and it could be set for a new chapter.

October Books - which has been selling tomes to the city's book lovers for more than 40 years - is hoping to buy its new premises.

As previously reported the cooperative ran a crowdfunding campaign last year to help pay their rent - which was due to go up in July 2018 to £30,000.

But now the success of that campaign means they have been able to put in a successful bid to buy a building, and they could share it with one of the city's leading homelessness charities.

The October Books team raised £70,000 and will now be putting that towards the cost of buying the Natwest bank in Portswood.

But they need support from the public to do it - and they need to raise another £230,000 by March 23.

They will be offering members of the public the chance the become part of their cooperative, giving them the chance to buy shares and take part in the yearly AGM.

Buying the bank - which is three times the size of their current premises - will also allow them to rent out the space to community organisations.

And there is a chance that homelessness charity Society of St James could convert rooms upstairs into accommodation for some of their clients.

Clare Diaper said: "It's a way of people investing into the community and into the whole project. It's a much larger building and much more space than we need. We'd like to have space for counselling or health and well-being services.

"We have been collaborating with individual community members and other local organisations, including the Society of St James, Social Enterprise Link Wessex, local architect Darren Bray, building contractor Peter Grant and cooperative business advisor Nathan Brown, in order to put a consortium proposal together."

SSJ CEO Trevor Pickup said: "I am happy to confirm that SSJ is working with October Books to see if long term housing can be created. The idea would be for October Books to use the retail space for their business and we would use the first floor for accommodation. We are still at early stage, and will need to raise the funding, ensure planning requirements can be met and confirm that the whole scheme is affordable."

October Books will be holding an open evening on February 8 for anyone interested in getting involved at the shop on 243 Portswood Road from 7pm.