Surrey County Council drop second phase of library plan

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Plans to hand over a further nine libraries in Surrey to volunteers have been dropped.

The Conservative-run county council agreed in September to devolve responsibilities at 10 libraries to help save up to £381,000 a year.

The future of nine other libraries was to be explored once the initial 10 had been run by community groups for a year - but the plans have been shelved.

Opposition councillors welcomed the U-turn but said it did not go far enough.

Council leader David Hodge said the second phase of the plan had been dropped after listening to the views of residents.

"Idea is disastrous"

He also said a member of staff would be present for at least 20% of the opening hours in the community-run libraries.

Councillor John Orrick, of the opposition Liberal Democrat group, said: "(The council has) effectively admitted by their U-turn on the plans for the second tranche of libraries that the idea is disastrous.

"They should go further and announce that the whole plan is going to be scrapped."

The libraries due to be run by volunteers are Bagshot, Bramley, Byfleet, Ewell Court, Lingfield, New Haw, Stoneleigh, Tattenhams, Virginia Water, and Warlingham.

They will operate as a pilot in financial year 2012-13 so their success can be assessed.

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