Libraries across the county are set for a reprieve following a u-turn by the Surrey County Council leader.

Councillor David Hodge proposed to put an end to the second phase of plans for community-run libraries.

He said it was in line with his promise to listen, learn and reflect on the views of residents.

The plans would have seen Hersham go under the control of volunteers and community groups, and if they did not come forward it would have closed.

Coun Hodge’s latest proposals, which were made on Tuesday, November 29, will be laid out at a cabinet meeting in December.

The first 10 libraries identified for community management, none of which were in Elmbridge, will get support from the council when the changes occur next year.

This will include a guarantee that an experienced member of the council’s library team will be in all community-run libraries for at least 20 per cent of their current opening hours, to help the community groups.

A dedicated help line for groups to get advice from the council will also be introduced.

Roy Green of Hersham Village Society, who was fiercely fighting the proposals with the Friends of Hersham Library, said it was good news - for the time being.

He said: I think we need to tread very carefully because we’ve fought closure for the past 25 years and we think everything is ok and then a few years go by and we have to starts fighting again.

“Unless we have a cast iron guarantee it will be safe for the next 50 years, I’m a little cynical about it, but for the time being it’s good news for Hersham and we can all rest.”