Burton Latimers residents back library buy out

Burton Latimer town council plans to take out a government backed loan to buy the library and use windfarm income to pay it off.
Burton Latimer town council plans to take out a government backed loan to buy the library and use windfarm income to pay it off.

Burton Latimer residents have backed buying their library to save it from closure.

About 100 residents turned out to the public meeting at Meadowside Primary School last night in support of the town council’s plan to take over the running of the library in High Street.

The town council will now take out a loan from the Public Works Loan Board to pay the undisclosed fee being asked for from owner Northamptonshire County Council. The loan will be paid back over a 20 year period from funds the town council receives from its wind farms and also by increasing the precept. The rise will cost Burton Latimer households an extra 25p a week.

The county authority is currently carrying out a review which proposed to keep just 19 of its 36 libraries under its statutory protection and hand the remainder over to community groups.

Burton Latimer Mayor Fergus Macdonald said the community were overwhelmingly in favour of buying the building, which first opened in 1974.

He said: “At the meeting there was huge support for the plans, with everyone wanting to see a library remaining in the town.

“We are just waiting now for the county council to agree and we can then go ahead with running it.”

The town council has put in a statement of intent to the county authority to buy the library and hopes to take over the running in July.

It is proposing to pay staff to run it alongside volunteers and to open for 33 hours per week.

The town council will have a remaining £30,000 a year from the wind farm funds to support community projects besides the library.

At last night’s meeting a number of residents stepped forward to volunteer to help out.

The county council will make a final decision in May about the future of the libraries.