CONTROVERSIAL proposals to slash 78.5 hours off library opening times across Worcestershire - including Stourport, Kidderminster and Bewdley libraries - has been scaled back, it has emerged.

Worcestershire County Council has decided to reduce the cutbacks to 55 hours a week, after it faced criticism during a public consultation.

It was revealed in April the county council had hatched a plan to shave opening hours off 17 different sites as part of a fresh plan to save £1 million. But following an outcry, 23.5 hours will be 'added' back into the mix, saving several libraries from unpopular changes.

Stourport Library was set to be the worst hit in Worcestershire, losing a whopping 14 hours a week and shutting completely on Wednesdays. It will still remain closed on Wednesdays and lose a total of 10 hours a week.

While, Kidderminster Library was set to lose eight hours a week and Bewdley Library to lose three and half a hours a week. Now, Bewdley will still face losing three and a half hours a week, while Kidderminster faces losing four hours a week.

The move has been revealed by Conservative Councillor Lucy Hodgson, the cabinet member for localism and communities, who said the changes showed she had "listened carefully".

Cllr Hodgson said: "When we first looked at the reductions, the proposal was to take around 78 hours off the library opening times, but following the comments made the reductions have been dropped to 55 hours.

"That's a direct consequence of the feedback we have had."

The changes to the library opening hours in Worcestershire will take effect from September 1.

Cllr Hodgson added: "We are very proud of our record of keeping every library in Worcestershire open, despite the financial challenges that we are facing.

"Unfortunately, we do need to make a small reduction in library opening hours in order to achieve the savings target the council has been set.

"We have analysed user activity, consulted with staff, discussed with partners and gathered feedback from our customers, as we are determined that the changes we are introducing will have minimum effect on the people who use our libraries."


Kidderminster - Closes 5pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, opens 9am every day, closes 7pm Tuesdays (loses four hours)

Stourport - Closes 4pm Saturdays, closes 5pm weekdays, shut all day Wednesday (loses 10.5 hours)

Bewdley - Closes 1pm Saturdays, opens 9.30am Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday (loses 3.5 hours)