UPTON residents are being offered reassurances on the future of their town library.

Worcestershire County Council is looking to cut £1.8 million – about 28 per cent – from its libraries and learning services budget and there have been concerns that Upton’s library service in School Lane could be cut back or even closed as a result.

Both Upton Town Council and Malvern Hills District Council have established working groups to monitor the situation, with the town council issuing a “use it or lose it”

warning to residents in a bid to secure its future.

But this week Councillor John Campion, responsible for localism and communities at WCC, assured residents that the ongoing review of library services is aiming to avoid closures.

“Our plans to make the savings included working closer with partners, other organisations and the local community to ensure that local people continue to have access to a comprehensive local library in their area, thus avoiding the need for outright closures if at all possible,”

he said.

“This is the council’s approach for libraries throughout the county, including in Upton, and while it acknowledges that services could change, be run slightly differently or by other organisations, we are fully committed to delivering a local library for local people which is well stocked and at the heart of the community it will serve.

“What we can’t do, when faced with having to make significant savings, is do nothing or sit back and hope these financial challenges will simply go away. But we believe our approach is both innovative and creative and will help ensure that unlike elsewhere in the country, local communities will continue to have a local library service which they can access.”

Upton Town Council’s library support working party recently held its first meeting.

Coun Peter Webb said its priorities were to increase library usage and to try and identify ways savings could be made with minimal impact to the service provided.

“We recognise that savings clearly have to be made,” he said.

“Our concern is that, while they say they will continue to provide a service, that could be much reduced or even just something run out of a van.

Coun Campion said all possible options would be discussed with residents, and a formal consultation carried out, before final decisions are made.