CRACKS are already appearing in the role of the Master’s House as a community hub for Ledbury, with the town’s new library facing possible closure and a local charity serving notice it is moving out.

Under proposals, the community would have to fund and staff the library to keep it going, and the Herefordshire Council offices in the Master’s House will shut.

The 15th century building, on St Katherine’s car park, was re-opened in March, following a £2.9 million restoration.

In the case of Ledbury Library, its survival could come down to volunteers.

Meanwhile, charity Community Action Ledbury (CAL), which moved into the Master’s House in March, has said it will move everything out in November, including the Mobility Centre.

The charity will seek funds for this from Ledbury Town Council and other parish councils.

Last week, Herefordshire Council announced new budgetary proposals, with the idea that “customer services in Ledbury would be withdrawn.” This means shutting the existing Herefordshire Council offices in Ledbury.

To keep Ledbury Library going, it would need to be “self-service”, and run by volunteers.

The proposal states: “We could extend community involvement to retain libraries in local areas”.

Community libraries “would need to be funded by the community.”

Ledbury people can have their say at consultation days on August 4 and September 22, in the High Street.

Former Ledbury mayor, Cllr Bob Barnes said: “Ledbury has always been good at volunteering; but is it sustainable? “If volunteering is taking up 50 per cent of your own time, you might start to question it.”

Community Action Ledbury will move back to its original offices in Bye Street until March, the Mobility Store had been at the Master's House since 2008.

But with a significant rise in the rent demanded from Herefordshire Council, it is not possible to keep it there.

Tess Brooks, CAL'S chief executive officer said: "We have found that the office space was unsuitable in the Master's House for the work that we do with clients. We had hoped that having supported the Master's House project from the beginning that we would be able to retain the Mobility Centre in the Master's House.

"The Mobility Centre has been in the Master's House for over seven years, before the refurbishment, for a rent of £230 per year.

"We had hoped in that leaving the office space that we would be able to keep a lease for the Mobility Store which is essentially a garage. We hoped to negotiate a separate lease for this space, but it was originally requested that £2000 plus vat be paid in rent, this was simply prohibitive for a charitable service which does not make any money."

She added: "While we understand there is a need for the Council to make money from the spaces in the Master's House it is not possible for our charity to carry this burden."

A Herefordshire Council spokesman said: "We made significant efforts to support the needs of Community Action Ledbury to utilise the space available, including the provision of further office space for their interaction with clients.

"We wish Community Action Ledbury every success in their new premises. Another compatible local service has expressed an interest in renting the office space."

Local resident and former Ledbury retailer, Yvonne White, questioned the judgement of CAL moving its offices from Bye Street to Master's House.

She said: "I can't see how they have made this mistake. If you are after a shop you go and have a look at it, and if it's not suitable you don't move in, do you?"