Fuming residents in Battersea have hit out at Wandsworth Council after it was revealed their library is earmarked for closure as part of cost-cutting measures.

Councillors backed plans at a environment, culture and community safety scrutiny committee meeting on November 15, that could see York Gardens library on Lavender Road, Battersea, close permanently, along with the remaining libraries in the borough reducing their opening hours.

It’s future will be left up to public consultation but the other libraries in the borough have been reassured they will not close.

Councillor Sarah MacDermott said: "The reduction in opening hours at other libraries and the closure of York Gardens has been chosen as the preferred option because it makes the most economic sense and causes the least disruption to overall library services.”

The library has been chosen for closure as it is the least busy library in terms of cost-per-visit but it has become a community hub for many families in the area.

Battersea resident Josh Sherer said: “The library here is a valuable community resource, used not just by book-borrowers but also by local children to do their homework and by adults to research job opportunities.

“Yet because it does not have as many vocal supporters as other libraries the council thinks it will be able to close it without anyone kicking up too much of a fuss.”

Former Latchmere and current Furzedown Labour councillor, Leonie Cooper, who sat on the committee, said: “The decision is unfair, brutal and disgraceful as far as the people are concerned. Why are they doing this to so many people? It makes no sense at all.”

Councillor Cooper revealed a petition has been started, with over 660 signatures so far and more are expected over the coming weeks.

Retired Battersea resident Elaine Low, also said: “I’m devastated with the decision, I use the library every day, it’s a focal point of the community.”

The council predict closing York Gardens along with the reduced opening hours of the other libraries would save an overall £782,000-a-year.

The decision is expected to be discussed at the full council meeting on December 8 and if endorsed, then full public consultation will begin.

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