A plan to “save” a popular community library from closure has been greeted with suspicion from its users.

Wandsworth councillors rubber stamped a Big Society rescue package for York Gardens Library on Monday, which involves relying on community volunteers to ensure it continues running.

However, speaking at the meeting, chairman of Battersea’s Kambala Estate Residents Association, Neil Stead, branded Wandsworth Council’s plan “a piece of Spin worthy of Peter Mandelson”.

He rubbished a council statement which said there were 300 members of the public willing to volunteer to work in the library to keep it open, claiming the number of people likely to commit to the initiative was closer to 50.

Mr Stead also said residents in Latchmere - one of the most deprived wards in the borough - would not be able to devote time to volunteering because many are single parent households, households where both parents work full-time, sometimes doing shift work.

He said: “Our goal today is not to persuade the council that [the plan] is a non-starter.

“It’s to firstly get them to consider whether York Gardens should be expected to shoulder the lion’s share of the budget cuts - almost three times the average amount the other libraries need to save.

“And secondly whether the Big Society pilot scheme would not be better suited to a library in an area where there are likely to be more people with free time on their hands.”

Afterwards, he told the Wandsworth Guardian: “It seems that either the council is setting up this project to fail, so that in a year's time they can say ‘well, we tried, but the local community didn't support it, so now the library will close’ - or they will have to plough a lot more money than they have forecast into the project, in order for it to succeed, in which case it will save no money money than if they had simply reduced the opening hours.”

Jane Eades, from Wandsworth Save Our Schools, said: “My impression of the whole thing was that the council did not expect any opposition to the closure of York Gardens and were left without a plan B - and that they then decided to use York Gardens as a test bed for the Big Society.”

Sandra Munoz-Alvarez, a member of Women of Wandsworth, added: “It may not be the perfect library to experiment as a pilot but as it is the only way to keep it open, I welcome [the plan].”

A council spokesman said: “The council is fully committed to do everything it can to make this plan work.

“We believe this is a realistic and achievable set of proposals that involves the local community and builds on the concrete offers of support we've received from local people and other organisations in the area who want to work together to keep this library open.”

• What do you think? Let us know by emailing imason@london.newsquest.co.uk, phone the newsdesk on 020 8722 6343 or leave a comment below.