A CAMPAIGN to save a Southampton library could be revived after its opening hours have been targeted in the council's budget.

Eight months after residents in Bitterne Park celebrated saving Cobbett Road Library from closure they now face a big cut in its opening hours.

Under a draft £166m budget, Cobbett Road, Burgess Road, Woolston, Thornhill and Weston libraries will see a reduction in opening hours by an average of 9.5 hours to save £65,000.

The savings are among a hit list drawn up by Tory council leaders to save £10m and give residents a below inflation council tax increase next year.

As the Cobbett Road is only open four days a week, campaigners fear closure by stealth.

Rachel Hickman said: "The use is going to go down then they will say it's not being used enough to stay open.

"Our concern is they shouldn't be cutting from library services. They should be seen as a priority."

However Councillor John Hannides, Cabinet member for leisure and culture, said the reductions were a result of mounting budget pressures and the Conservatives had honoured their pledge to keep the Cobbett Road open in "difficult circumstances."

Cllr Hannides said libraries had been "allowed to limp along without any vision" and a review, to report back next year, would set out an enhanced service for the 21st century.

He said he could not pre-empt its findings but that voluntary groups could play a part in opening libraries for longer.

The Save the Cobbett Road Library campaign was backed by Itchen MP John Denham, now Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities, and Skills, as well as Tory ward councillors Peter Baillie and Phil Williams (pictured).

The council's draft budget will go out to consultation until February.