Sutton Council has scrapped its mobile library service and will close Beddington library, despite the public preferring the use of volunteers to keep services open.

Council approved the closures at the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee meeting last night, blaming “draconian cuts” for the need to slash £1m from its £4.4m library budget.

Closing Beddington library and the mobile service will save the council £153,000 a year.

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Public consultation on the future of the library services ran from September to December last year with more than 50 per cent of respondents telling the council they would prefer them to use volunteers to run the libraries rather than close them.

Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Penneck, lead for libraries, arts and heritage, said: “The Government cuts mean we have had to make some hard choices, but we have managed to keep the majority of libraries open at a time when many local authorities are making deeper cuts to their library service.

“We are also able to make changes that will improve the service, increasing access at Sutton Central library and Circle library, developing the housebound service for vulnerable people and having greater involvement of volunteers and the community in running our libraries.”

Coun Penneck has previously said he wants the council to “try and avoid closures as far as we possibly can”.

The authority maintains it has been forced to make the cuts by "unprecedented" budget constraints imposed by the Government.

It says it has to save £31m from its annual budget by 2019.

The council has already saved £43m since 2010 by charging for garden waste collection and outsourcing the running of its theatres.

Conservative councillor Tim Crowley has previously dismissed suggestions central Government cuts were to blame for the closures, but at last night’s meeting did not criticise the council for its decision.

He said: "We are very disappointed as a group that they have cut a service that affects the most vulnerable."

Coun Crowley and Coun Tony Shields voted against closing the services.

The services will be closed in April. 

To compensate for the cuts the boroughs main library, Sutton Central, will remain open while the other eight remaining libraries will be open for an extra 1.5 hours each week.

The council has also launched consultations on cutting youth services and children’s centres to slash its spending. In November it offered voluntary redundancy to its entire workforce.

It also shares services with neighbouring boroughs, including HR services, highways, environmental health and trading standards shared with Kingston Council to save money.

What do you think? Email Sean Morrison on call 020 8722 6363