THE group that led the campaign to keep Park library open have offered a measured welcome to the news that it will now be included in the council’s core provision.

The well-attended facility, in Park North’s Cavendish Square, serves one of the more economically and socially disadvantaged communities in Swindon.

An earlier version of the libraries strategy placed it at risk of closure after the council omitted it from their future funding plans.

A local campaign was launched and 1,200 signatures were collected calling for an urgent re-think, the calls were backed by library campaigners, headteachers, councillors and the areas local MP Robert Buckland.

The team behind the successful campaign say the decision is a positive one, but that it does not go far enough.

They have criticised the decision to only fund 15 staffed hours a week and to close other, smaller, branch libraries.

Martin Wicks, Secretary of the Parks and East Walcot Community Forum who were behind the campaign, said: “We would like to thank all those people who supported our campaign. Fainter hearts didn’t think that we could achieve anything.

“However, we have shown that community campaigning combined with the support of councillors can achieve results even against the odds.

“We proposed an amendment relating to Park library alone because the council had already decided to butcher the service.

“However, that does not mean we are unconcerned with what is happening in other areas of the town.

“We will continue to support the Save Swindon’s Libraries campaign and any local groups fighting for the survival of their library.”

The group is also committed to fighting for an even better deal for the Park library - arguing that 15 staffed hours is not enough, they say they will be seeking to persuade the soon to be formed parish council to provide funding for extended staffed hours.

Representatives from the community forum will be writing to the councillors due to make up the shadow parish council to ask that they ensure the service reflects local needs.

They say their primary concern is for the young people who use the library to do their homework and access the internet for education purposes, as well as the groups who use it as a meeting point or for other services.

A meeting is planned between councillors and community organisations to discuss future plans.