Public Meetings Over Merton Library Hours

Protests over plans for extra day's closure

Public consultation meetings are to be held later this month over the proposed reduction in opening hours at two Merton libraries.

Library users have protested about plans to close Donald Hope Library in Colliers Wood and West Barnes in New Malden for an extra day each week.

Both libraries are already closed on Wednesdays, but the proposals would add an extra day's closure, although the libraries would be re-opened over the lunch break.

The public consultation meetings take place as follows:

  • West Barnes: 7pm, Tuesday January 18, at the library in Station Road, New Malden.
  • Donald Hope: 7pm, Wednesday January 19, at the library in Cavendish House, Colliers Wood High Street.

It is thought the reduction in overall hours of 4.5 hours per library would save around £20,000 per library. Merton Borough Council has proposed the reduction as part of the spending cuts it needs to make.

Councillor Samantha George, Conservative Spokesman on Community and Culture, said she was glad residents were now being consulted about the proposals. But added: "We are picking up a tremendous opposition to these plans. People feel it is the thin end of the wedge.

"Our libraries are valued resources and there must be a concern that they testing the water on this and will perhaps go further in the future. We can't rule out any option."

The council is now preparing its proposals for the 2011-12 Budget and it's likely the final decision will be made at a full council meeting in March.

January 12, 2011