Villagers fear final chapter as library closure looms

By Dan Santy 24/04 Updated: 24/04 16:27

Buy photos » Concerned residents Anne Tippett, Dee and Ken Short, Jan Outhwaite and John and Diane Henderson do not want to see Binley Woods library sold to a private developer. 13.012.038.rug.jg2

VILLAGERS fear Binley Woods will lose its heart when the doors to its library shut for the last time this weekend.

People have been discussing the effects the loss of their library will have on village life as they prepare for it to close permanently on Saturday (March 31).

And some have decided to band together in opposition to Warwickshire County Council's plans to sell the site to a private buyer.

The county council is closing the building and eventually plans to sell it as part of a shake-up of Warwickshire's libraries aimed at saving cash and shaving millions off its budget.

When the library cull was first announced early last year, people in Binley Woods rallied to try to take over their's but found they lacked the resources to staff and pay for it, forcing them to withdraw their bid and accept its closure.

And recently, it was advertised for sale by the county council for between £125,000 to £150,000 and was suggested as a good spot for a restaurant to set up in - to the anger of people living in the village.

It has since been taken off the market after the village's parish council asked for more time while they prepare their plan on new housing needs in Binley Woods, according to a county council spokesman.

Villager Anne Tippett said she and others do not want to lose a public building to either a private business or houses.

She said: "Once this goes it will be lost as a building for public use forever. We don't want a restaurant or more houses going up there - we want a building for the community.

"We're a smallish village with a lot of older people, but it feels like there will be little for them to do when the library closes.

"Under recent cost cuts, the village has now lost its library, the youth club is on extremely short-term funding and the evening bus service has also been cut. Where will it end?"

Ms Tippett added villagers have asked the county council whether money from the library sale will be reinvested back into public services in Binley Woods but have yet to receive a response.

Once the library shuts, Binley Woods will be left with its village hall, sports pavilion and primary school as public buildings.

A mobile library will also begin serving the village, visiting once a week.

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