Cuts to library opening hours planned by Wakefield Council

Councillor Les Shaw

Councillor Les Shaw

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Library opening hours could be cut as cash-strapped Wakefield Council seeks to save money.

Council bosses are proposing to reduce opening times at all 13 of its district’s libraries to make a saving of £150,000.

The authority needs to save £27m this year, on top of £119m of budget cuts already made since 2011, because of reduced funding from central government.

The combined weekly opening hours of libraries in Airedale, Castleford, Featherstone, Hemsworth, Horbury, Knottingley, Normanton, Ossett, Pontefract, Sandal, South Elmsall, Stanley and Wakefield would reduce by 56.5 hours.

A public consultation on the proposal will run until Wednesday, June 22.

The council is seeking people’s views via a questionnaire which is available at the libraries or online at www.wakefield.gov.uk/libraries

Coun Les Shaw, the council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “We are proposing to reduce the hours at typically less busy times of day to help minimise the impact this will have on library customers.

“The financial challenge facing the Council is huge. We simply have no choice but to reduce our spending so we have been looking at ways that we can make savings but still provide the important services that residents need.

“By reducing the opening hours of the facilities we hope that we can continue to keep all the facilities open, help protect jobs and still offer our customers an excellent service.

“We are asking all residents to take part in the consultation so that any changes that are implemented will cause the least amount of disruption.”