FEARS Ledbury library would close have been quashed after confirmation it will be housed in an iconic building.

The library will be housed in the medieval Master’s House, which is undergoing a £2.9 million restoration – but the opening times could be restricted under Herefordshire Council budget cuts.

The confirmation came after Councillor Peter Watts, a Herefordshire councillor for Ledbury, tabled a question at the authority’s full budget meeting, which was discussing the proposed cuts.

Coun Watts said he was asking the question on behalf of Ledbury residents who were “becoming increasingly concerned as to the future of the library within the town” as library closures were included in proposed cuts.

Coun Watts asked: “Can I please have clarification as to the future of Ledbury’s library – now the Master’s House is near completion after its renovation?

“The renovations internally are being done specifically to rehouse the library within the Masters House.”

Coun Roger Phillips, the council cabinet member with responsibility for libraries and museums, confirmed the Master’s House project was continuing and the library would be housed there.

But he added: “The reduction in support from Westminster and rising costs in social care will mean that in all libraries the hours of opening will be reduced.”

The council is keen to look at ways in which volunteers and other user groups can help to maintain services.

Coun Rogers said: “The joining up of services in one location supports better efficiency, convenience and value for money.”

The restored Master’s House, which will include the library, currently based in Bye Street, and heritage centre, is set to re-open next summer.

The building dates from 1487.

At the meeting, axe-threatened services in the county had a stay of execution with Herefordshire Council agreeing to the principle of its new 2013/14 budget plan but not the specific cuts proposed.

It agreed, where appropriate, impact assessments would be made wherever alternative models of service delivery were being considered.

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