CHELTENHAM MP Martin Horwood has added his name to ten thousand others calling for a rethink of Tory plans to close local libraries across Gloucestershire – including Hesters Way library in Cheltenham. The Conservative administration has had to identify £108 million of savings thanks to the government’s efforts to cut back on overspending nationwide – but the axe is falling much harder on libraries than on other parts of the county’s budget.
Libraries are being asked to save £2.5 million, a whopping 43% or nearly half of their total spending. Hesters Way library is expected to close outright as a result while other libraries will suffer cutbacks in hours and services. Hesterd Way’s Oasis Youth Centre is already slated to close as well. Martin and local Lib Dem councillors are supporting the petition for an independent review of the plans. 10,300 people have already signed according to Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries.
‘Hesters Way library is really important to the local community here’ said Martin. ‘As well as a quiet space to read and work for kids and adults and a place to discover books, the library offers free internet access, a book club and Bookstart and other services for young families. Not everyone in Hesters Way can afford to pay for these kind of services and the county council needs to take that into account. With the Oasis Youth Centre under threat too, Hesters Way faces a double whammy. This just hasn’t been thought through.’
Member of Parliament for Cheltenham
working for a fairer,
greener, safer community