A CAMPAIGN group is urging Burley-in-Wharfedale Parish Council to retain the village library in its current location.

Parish councillors meet on Thursday next week when they could decide to sell the library site for development and use the proceeds to redevelop the Queen's Hall to include some form of library facilities. Alternatively they could decide to maintain and improve the library which is the only building owned by the parish council. The Queen’s Hall is held on a 50 year lease.

Save Our Library Site (SOLS), a group of former parish councillors and similarly like-minded residents, has suggested a third option, which is to delay the decision until the parish council has produced firm plans and costings for the Queen's Hall and held a consultation on these and on the alternative methods and costs of retaining and improving the current library.

Since April the library has been staffed by 50 volunteers under the supervision of a part time librarian, and the number of books borrowed by both children and adults has increased, as has footfall which includes those using the library for other reasons, such as the computers, visiting the archives and their displays, small group meetings and talks, and rehearsals by the Theatre Group.

A spokesman for the Save Our Library Group said “The Parish Council should not sell off the library site for development in this central community area on the edge of Grange Park. It is bizarre to be even thinking of proposing more houses within the conservation area at the same time that the council is trying to reduce the number of new houses scheduled for elsewhere in the village. We have always maintained that the growing village will need both the Queen’s Hall and the library building to provide public amenity space for its future larger population. It must always be more sensible to put one's money in a freehold building than a leased one.

“We are currently asking every householder if they agree that Burley Parish council should delay the decision to dispose of the building and should run the library under the present arrangements. This would allow time for proper discussion of the options, but would require a small increase in the annual precept. Information has gone to every household and residents are urged to return responses by next Monday if they have not already done so. Returns so far show that there is a growing opinion among residents to “hold the horses” on these important decisions. In addition it is now understood that Bradford MDC has always intended to fund some running costs until March 2020 so the perceived need for haste to make a decision that the growing village may come to regret is even more unnecessary.”

The Parish Council meeting is at 7.30 pm on Thursday, September 14 in the Queen's Hall on Main Street. Further information can be found on the Save Our Library Site website: www.burleysols.weebly.com