‘Major step forward’ in potential buyout of Desborough and Rothwell libraries

Desborough library.
Desborough library.

Kettering Council could hold an emergency meeting to discuss the possibility of buying the libraries in Desborough and Rothwell.

Last night (Tuesday) the council’s research and development committee agreed to ask the council’s ruling executive committee to hold further talks over a potential buyout.

The future of the libraries in both towns is under threat after Northamptonshire County Council announced they would close unless community groups come forward to buy and run them.

The authority is asking for £460,000 for Rothwell and £360,000 for Desborough.

Cllr Mick Scrimshaw has called on Kettering Council to buy the libraries to then rent them back to the community groups who hope to take over the running of the service.

He said: “The future of these two libraries is so important to our two local towns that anything Kettering borough councillors can do to support them is not only welcome but vital.

“Everybody understands the financial pressures the county council are under, but closing these local libraries is a step too far.

“There is a genuine business case for Kettering Council to step in and support these groups and the rent they receive from the community groups willing to run the libraries could well exceed any costs incurred by the council to buy the buildings.

“I’m thrilled that other councillors agree that this should at the very least be considered, and look forward to the debate Kettering Council will now have about stepping in to rescue these important local community assets.”

Last night’s meeting heard speeches from Jo Taylor (Desborough) and Kate Ley (Rothwell) about the importance of keeping the libraries open.

The move was also welcomed by Cllr Jim Hakewill, who sits on both Kettering Council and the county council.

He said: “This is a major step forward in the campaign to save and keep a sustainable library hub in the two towns.

“It rewards the amazing efforts of the friends of the libraries groups in Rothwell and Desborough who have volunteered hundreds of hours of their time to create a business plan.”

A Kettering Council spokesman said a decision on whether or not to have an emergency meeting has not yet taken place.

A date for the meeting, if it does take place, is not yet known.