95 per cent say they want Higham Ferrers Library to stay open

Higham Ferrers Library
Higham Ferrers Library

More than 400 people took part in a consultation on the future of Higham Ferrers Library, with 95 per cent saying they want it to remain open.

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the deadline for responses to the consultation on the future of the library and information service currently delivered by Northamptonshire County Council.

Option one allows for the delivery of the library services in Higham Ferrers as a community managed service.

Options two and three mean that the library will close.

Their final decision will be on February 22.

Higham Ferrers Town Council has undertaken its own consultation about the library’s future, which has had 423 responses.

95 per cent want the town’s library to stay open and 80 per cent support an increase in the council tax to facilitate this.

Comments made as part of the consultation include: “It is about more than books, it is a community hub and is a great place for children and parents.”

Another comment said: “This service was very important in my recovery from depression.”

At a meeting on December 19, Higham Ferrers Town Council agreed to express an informal expression of interest in taking over the library.

It does not mean it is certain that the town council will manage the library, but the decision was taken to keep the door open to the possibility.

However this decision had to be made without all the full facts, including the market valuation for the library which was only received last week from the county council.

The valuation is £367,500 to buy or £33,000 to lease.

Just to lease will be a 9.4 per cent increase on the current budget without any running costs.

Over the next few weeks the council will be gathering more information and costs on taking over the library and building.

The town council is also conscious that the building will require works, which would be another strain on resources.

The town council understands that should the county council agree to option one, a formal expression of interest will have to be submitted by March 31.

For more information on the actions the town council is taking on the library, go to www.highamferrers-tc.gov.uk or contact the town hall.