Lambeth is demanding Croydon get back around the negotiating table to settle a dispute threatening the future of a 'much loved-library'.

Both councils fund the Upper Norwood Joint Library (UNJL) but while Lambeth claim Croydon want to end their association, Croydon has accused Lambeth of not meeting its obligations over the library.

Last week, Lambeth rejected three options for the future of the library submitted by Croydon, which it said would ultimately mean the closure of the library.

Lambeth Council leader, Councillor Steve Reed, said: "Croydon’s Tories must put down the gun they have pointed at the head of the community in Upper Norwood. We urge Councillor Fisher and his Tory friends to abandon their destructive closure plans and sit down with us and the local community to find a way to protect this much-loved library for future generations."

Lambeth is suggesting for both councils hand over control, and potentially ownership, of the building to local community and library-user groups.

Funding would be guaranteed by the councils whose residents use it, with decisions over how to spend it taken by local people.

Conservative Croydon Councillor, Sara Bashford, cabinet member for culture and sport, said: "I have been trying to work with Lambeth for 18 months and they have not co-operated. I have arranged other meetings which they have not attended."

Lambeth has now given its suggestions. We are currently looking at the suggestions and once we have given it all due care we will respond."

Pam Gray, secretary of the Upper Norwood Library Campaign, said: "We ask that Croydon and Lambeth engage in constructive and transparent discussions that would ensure the future of the Library and guarantee its place at the heart of the community."