COUNCILLORS in Stratton have voted to save a library threatened with closure and turn it into a “thriving” community hub.

Beechcroft Library, in Upper Stratton, will from September 1 be run by the Stratton St Margaret Parish Council after an agreement was made with Swindon Borough Council.

Joe Tray, chairman of the parish council said: “Our plan is to turn the library into a community hub for local residents and local business owners.

“Swindon Borough Council have awarded us the opportunity to run the library on an annual service level agreement from September 1. We have a year to turn it around and make it a success, so we hope that the local community is on board and we will be reaching out to local businesses for their support too.”

A meeting was held back in December in which representatives from the borough council met parish councillors to discuss the handover of the Beechcroft Road library.

And although nobody wanted to see it close, councillors expressed serious concerns about taking on the responsibility for running the library.

A passionate Coun Tray said: “I didn’t go into politics to close down libraries or children’s centres and I think it’s very important to provide these things for the community.”

But after much deliberation, councillors agreed to take over the library with the financial backing of the borough council.

Tracy Predeth, clerk of the parish council, said: “We have been successful in our business plan to continue to run Beechcroft Library in Upper Stratton.

“Swindon Borough Council is supporting us with our plan and has allocated £90,000 to assist with capital funding with the continuation of the library.

“The parish council welcomes Swindon Borough Council’s decision and looks forward to working with them to take it forward.”

Ms Predeth added: “Our thanks must go to the Friends of Upper Stratton Library - without their hard work and commitment to save the library none of this would have been possible.”

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