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Cinderford saved, but Gloucestershire campaign goes on
31.01.11 | Benedicte Page
Gloucestershire county council has reinvested £500,000 into its library budget, with new proposals that would see Cinderford library saved from closure.
But Friends of Gloucestershire libraries said the revised plans, which would still leave 10 libraries at risk of closure if volunteers do not step forward to run them, "go nowhere near far enough".
Council leader Mark Hawthorne said the decision to save Cinderford, made after the council's investment, "demonstrates that we are listening to what people are telling us," calling Cinderford as "a unique location". The money will also be used to extend opening hours at other library sites and make a one-off £100,000 to buy book and audio stock.
But local campaigners repeated their call for an "urgent independent and transparent review" of the council's plans for its library service.
In a statement, Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries queried the council's level of consultation with local people, saying: "These revised plans have been announced with four consultation sessions still to be held and an online consultation survey which runs until the 11th February. Are the people attending these sessions and completing the survey between now and then to assume that their views will not be taken into account then?"
The revised proposals "still fail to take proper account of social impacts and are being rushed through without the opportunity for proper scrutiny," campaigners argued.
Meanwhile, an open letter of support to the campaign group signed by 20 local authors including Jilly Cooper, Jamila Gavin and Mo Hayder, urged the council not to proceed with the cuts, saying they would "cause immense, long-term, and perhaps irreparable damage to communities across Gloucestershire".