Four Nottingham libraries could shut as 'nuclear' option avoided

The outside of the Aspley Library, showing the front of the building and the small garden next to the steps leading up to the entrance
The Aspley Library is one of 15 run by Nottingham City Council and was previously threatened with closure -Credit:Nottingham Post

Nottingham City Council are reportedly planning to close four libraries as the "nuclear option" of shutting most of them down appears to have been avoided. Nottinghamshire Live reported earlier this year that the authority was preparing to consult on keeping just three of its network of 15 libraries open.

The claim came via a meeting attended by union representatives in February hosted by former council leader David Mellen. The libraries that were set to stay open under the plan were reportedly the new Central Library, the upcoming Sherwood Library and the more historic Aspley Library.

Des Conway, one of those who has been campaigning for the last few years to protect Nottingham's libraries, now says that the council's consultation will earmark the closure of just four libraries rather than 12. Mr Conway says the libraries under threat are those in Aspley, Basford, Radford-Lenton and Bilborough.

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The news has not yet been confirmed, but an official announcement of the consultation is due this week. Campaigners would likely be particularly aggrieved if the Aspley, Basford and Radford-Lenton sites end up closing, given that those were the ones saved from closure in January 2023.

Mr Conway said: "It turns out that when the executive board met in January 2023 to reverse the closure of Aspley, Basford and Radford, after our marvellous year-long campaign, they had only in fact reprieved them. Back then, our campaign forced the council to rethink their closure strategy, due to the levels of deprivation in those communities, and the distances needed to travel to access another library in the designated areas, and the cost-of-living crisis, which is still a factor now.

"All of this data was analysed... which resulted in all three facilities being 'saved', so it is extremely disheartening to have to go through all of this heartache again." David Mellen previously said that closing libraries will be inevitable to generate the savings required at Nottingham City Council.

As the authority faces an overall budget gap of more than £100 million in the coming years, plans are for savings worth £1.5 million to be generated from a "review of library services" alone. Nottingham City Council was contacted for comment about the latest claim around the future of libraries.