PLANS to reduce library opening hours in Rickmansworth and Croxley Green have been approved by the county council.
In response to 'extreme financial pressures', Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) agreed to reduce hours at 47 branches across the county, as well as making cuts to its mobile library service.
The plans, as reported in the Gazette last October, will see Rickmansworth Library's opening hours plummet from 56 to 37 each week, while Croxley Green Library, in Barton Way, will be open for 17 hours fewer each week.
The district's five libraries, including Chorleywood, Abbots Langley and Oxhey, will be open for 76 fewer hours each week.
During a public consultation, to which 7,000 people responded, critics described the proposals as 'a false economy' and insisted the library service must be made a priority by the Conservative-run administration.
The opposition Liberal Democrat group - which launched a Facebook campaign called I Love My Herts Library, in response to the county council's plans - blasted the decision, saying other cost-saving avenues could have been explored.
The executive member for community safety and culture at HCC, Keith Emsall, said: "While many councils are planning to close branches completely, we consider it very important for residents to access a library. That's why no branch library will shut down, and we have staggered a new timetable so when your local library isn't open, a nearby branch will be." * Your views are always welcome - email firstname.lastname@example.org, or post a comment at northwood.uxbridgegazette.co.uk.