COTSWOLD libraries destined for the chop have a chance of yet another reprieve after a challenge against Gloucestershire County Council's decision to close seven libraries.

Earlier this month the council’s Tory-led cabinet made the decision to close seven county-run libraries, including facilities at Lechlade and Minchinhampton, as part of a bid to save £1.8million.

Lib Dem councillors, however, have lodged a call-in challenge, which means that the plans have to be put on hold until the decision has been looked at by the council’s overview and scrutiny management committee.

Lib Democrat group leader Cllr Jeremy Hilton said: "The whole process for the strategic review of the library network has been shambolic from start to finish."

In a letter to the council’s chief executive Pete Bungard, the group highlighted several "fundamental flaws" in the strategy, including access for vulnerable groups.

Council leader Mark Hawthorne was criticised for awarding extra hours to libraries in his party’s "Cotswold heartland" at Stow-on-the-Wold and Tetbury, while cutting hours at other Gloucestershire sites.

Cllr Hawthorne said the Lib Dem’s complaint was riddled with errors.

"It is pure party politics – and no doubt will be swiftly rejected by the committee that considers it," he said.

If the cabinet’s decision is upheld at the meeting, those libraries that have been earmarked for a "community offer" will have six months to get volunteers in place to run the services or face closure.

Lechlade’s library working group is not taking any chances and has already started the process of registering a charity, the Friends of Lechlade Library, to run the library should the cuts go ahead.

The town is desperate for volunteers to work at the library so that it can stay open for as many hours as possible. Willing volunteers are also needed to take on the roles of secretary and treasurer on the charity committee.

For information or to enquire about joining the committee contact Cllr Sue Coakley 01367 253306 or at