The first new library to be opened in Swindon for 20 years has an official opening date.

South Swindon Parish Council has announced that the new Badbury Park facility will be opening on July 1, and it has a big grand opening event planned. 

A spokesperson for the parish council said: "On Saturday, July 1 at 10am, South Swindon Parish Council will hold a Grand Opening for a new community library inside Badbury Park Community Hub.

"We would love to see lots of residents at the new facility where Parish Councillors and staff will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about the Community Hub and Library.

"The new furniture is being fitted in mid-June so we’ll keep you posted on the progress over the next few weeks!"

The library has been planned since November 2022 after the parish council agreed to open a new community facility in Badbury Park when it was offered by developers Persimmon Homes. 

The facility is on Homington Avenue, opposite the new retail unit and near the play area and primary school.

This is a welcome change for the town which saw its last library open in 2003 - the North Swindon, Orbital facility - although others have moved or changed venues since then. 

Since then five library branches have closed. These were Chiseldon in 2004, Gorse Hill in 2009, Walcot in 2017, Covingham in 2020, and the Mobile Library Service, also in 2017.

The new Badbury Park Library will be run by the same Parish library service as runs Old Town Library. SSPC took on Old Town Library in 2017. In 2017, it had 4,365 book loans but that has grown to 19,656 in 2022. 

Across Swindon, as a whole, there were 326,938 book loans across all Swindon Libraries in 2022, of which 88,432 were in the Central Library, 38,419 in Highworth, 64,512 in North Swindon, 20,195 in Park, and 50,827 in West Swindon.

The remaining 64,553 were in the various community libraries (including Old Town's figures).

Members of the public were consulted on what they wanted to see the Homington Avenue space used for, and 92 per cent of respondents called for a community space

The online consultation also identified a community library as a new amenity local residents would like to see in Badbury Park, so alongside the bookable community space, it was decided the community centre would host a library.