OLD Town library has been given another 11th hour reprieve after Swindon Council announced a u-turn over its decision to close the library at the end of this month.

After residents and campaigners lobbied the council over inadequate consultation on the decision it was decided that it will remain open for another three months.

During that period, consultation will be carried out to decide if the library in Victoria Road should stay open.

It is the second time a vigorous campaign has persuaded councillors to change their mind, but there is still no guarantee that the library will remain open after the three months.

Campaigner Shirley Burnham said: “I am feeling very hopeful that it will make a difference to their decision.

“I have always thought that if they consulted the people of Old Town, and not just Old Town because my petition was signed by people from all over Swindon, then they would see how valued this library is.

“After all, what we are talking about is just £22,000 and for all this brouhaha to be caused by that kind of sum is just ridiculous.”

The decision was taken after a meeting of Swindon Council’s Old Town and Lawn Area Panel.

Coun Fionuala Foley (Con, Old Town & Lawn) said the council was responding to concerns over the quality and length of consultation on the closure.

She said: “Myself and Brian Mattock were concerned by what we heard from people at the meeting. Our view was that residents in Old Town had been aware for some time that it was a possibility the library could close.

“But the feeling we got from the meeting was that that was not the case and we were uncomfortable with that.

“Old Town library will now have the same consultation period as Even Swindon and Gorse Hill libraries.

“This is a serious consultation – we will be listening to what people are saying.

“I am still very interested in hearing from any community groups who would be interested in moving into the library and safeguarding it for the community.

“We will be listening to what people have to say, but we can’t change the fact that the library is only up the hill from the central library and we can’t change the economic climate.”

Last month Swindon Council’s consultation process was criticised by Roy Clare, the head of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).

He said: “It is not for me to criticise the council, but in our terms of best practice a consultation should engage with the people. In this case it seems that the process of consultation may have been rather swift.”