THANK you to the Daily Echo and reporter James Franklin for comprehensive coverage of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting and the Cabinet meeting at which the decision to close five Southampton libraries was unanimously agreed.

The council maintains that the majority of respondents to the public consultation supported its preferred option (closing five libraries) yet respondents were given no option to maintain all or even most of the city libraries.

They could choose between five or more closures!

The survey questionnaire was designed to give the results the council wanted to proceed with its intended plan.

It may be that all or some of the five threatened libraries will be able to continue to provide a service run by community groups using volunteers.

However, this cannot be regarded as an acceptable substitute for publicly funded, council run libraries staffed by professional librarians.

At the Cabinet meeting it was admitted by both Cllr Kaur and Cllr Letts that they would prefer to see all five threatened libraries remain council run.

The decision to “close” them had been forced on them by cuts in grants from central government.

At last, an admission that the plan to close five libraries is a cost-cutting exercise and has nothing to do with improving the service to more effectively meet the changing needs of Southampton residents (as it was presented).

Why, one asks, when the council has an enormous financial shortfall, should it spend so much time and money on a plan which will save so little yet cause so much harm?

Closing five libraries will save the council £280,000 annually. In 2015-16 the roads budget alone is over £16 million.

The top 15 most well paid individuals at Southampton City Council earn between them over £2 million!

Closing the library in Millbrook, one of the city's most deprived areas, will save just £12,000!

Here in Bitterne Park it feels at this moment as though the council has thrust a knife into the heart of our community and twisted it.

But we refuse to die quietly.

The enormous love and passion we have for Cobbett Road Library will inspire us to continue to fight for its future as a publicly funded, council run and professionally staffed library.

Lindsi Bluemel, Bitterne Park