UPTON'S public library is under threat of having its opening hours cut as Worcestershire County Council prepares to implement a new round of budget cuts.

The council has assessed all 23 libraries across the county using a range of criteria including the use of library facilities, the amount of deprivation in the local community and the distance to alternative libraries.

And according to its criteria, Upton's library is one of the lowest when ranked in order on need in the county.

As a result, the recommendation is to gut its opening hours, as well as taking steps to make it s fully community-run library, staffed by volunteers.

At the moment, the library is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9.30am to 4.30pm, and on Saturday from 9.30am to 1pm.

Chris Mair of the Upton Villages Together trust , which in June 2016, signed a lease taking over the upkeep of the library in a bid to reduce council spending, said: "Our county council is using narrow, spurious data in order to further abrogate its financial responsibility for our libraries and pass the cost buck to our district, town and village councils.

"Our library is booming. Take-up of group events for the times the library is open to the public is good. Our trust makes the building available outside of the 25 hours of its library open house."

He said that the county council's analysis did not take into account the library's use by community organisations such as the Bounce and Rhyme mums and toddlers group and the Knit-and-Talk group.

He said: "While there's a reference to the existence of the folk festival, there does not seem to be any acknowledgement that the library has been used for events in the jazz festival for the last two years, with great success.

"And, what happens if the library is obliged to close? Given that it is co-joined with West Mercia Upton Safer Neighbourhood Team, what is their future?

"There are many questions and at present few answers. I even wonder if Worcestershire County Council has thought that far into the future.

"There is no alternative to Upton Library. Malvern is a two-bus journey away and that's for those who live in the town. And, Pershore Library access is a non-starter without private transport."