Wootton Fields public library to move to community centre

Campaigners trying to keep a library at a Northampton school have said they feel "sorry for the community" after the council decided to move it.

Northamptonshire County Council is to relocate Wootton Fields Library at Caroline Chisholm school in September.

The Conservative council said it could no longer afford to pay its running costs. The library will move half a mile away to Wootton Community Centre.

But campaigners said the council was not willing to consider other options.

'Formal complaint'

David Atkinson, who set up an online petition against the move, said: "I feel sorry for the community. The library was put in the school to act as a central hub.

"The council has made it clear that it doesn't want to work with us to find a solution."

However, Heather Smith, council cabinet member, said: "We have given the friends group, together with the school and governing body, as long as we can to put forward a proposal."

The public library for Wootton was combined with Caroline Chisholm School eight years ago as part of a private finance initiative (PFI) for the school.

The county council said under the PFI scheme the running costs for the library was too high, so it ended the contract in July. It has estimated that the move will save a minimum of £1m over the next 17 years.

Mrs Smith said: "We simply cannot ignore the high costs of the current arrangements."

Campaigners said they intend to take the matter further.

"The group has already agreed to put in a formal complaint to the county council on the grounds of lack of consultation," said Mr Atkinson.

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