Waltham Forest Council has approved plans to relocate a library despite fierce opposition over the last two years.

The decision to move Wood Street Library to a new site in Marlowe Road was called in by opposition councillors at the cabinet last week.

They say alternative options have not been thoroughly considered and the money from the sale of the old building risks being used to fund other ventures.

The call-in means it will be subject to a greater level of scrutiny and debate.

Cllr Alan Siggers, Conservative group leader, said: “Wood Street Library is a well loved local facility and before we rush to closure we must be absolutely sure that residents are not going to lose out.

“This means that the Labour party’s closure plans must be well scrutinised and challenged to ensure that this is the best plan for the borough and particularly for the people in and around Wood Street.

“Amongst other things, we have concerns about how well local people have been consulted and how accurate the costings are in the report.

“We are therefore ‘calling in’ this decision to ensure that the council’s overview and scrutiny committee can have a proper look at these plans and make any necessary suggestions to the cabinet to improve their decision.

“This will also allow the public to make more representations to the council if they want to.”

The councillors are also concerned the locally listed status of the Wood Street Library building was not mentioned in the cabinet’s report.

They also claim no consideration was given to the option of joining Wood Street library with the  school not it.

The council first announced plans to relocate the library in 2016 because it was “beyond its useful life” and the upkeep became expensive.

The move sparked protests outside the library as opponents said the changes offered “false choices” and the downsized services would affect children and older people.

The decision was labelled “a scandal” by the protesters who feared for the loss of the historic building.

Concerns raised included a claim that the figures overstated the refurbishment costs by around £800,000, that the new site will be smaller and less accessible and that, allegedly the cabinet were given an updated set of figures just before the meeting meaning that no scrutiny of the updated figures was possible.

Waltham Forest Council confirmed money from the sale of the existing Wood Street Library building will be used for the relocation to Marlowe Road and an extension and refurbishment of Lea Bridge Library and the new site will offer more library space than the current site.

Cllr Clare Coghill said: “There is clearly great love for this building but unfortunately renovating it isn’t the most effective or efficient way to spend council money.

“The Wood Street Library no longer meets the needs of residents. We need to attract younger people and encourage residents who used the library to return.  Our libraries need to be contemporary and relevant to the whole community.”

The authority said the cost to refurbish the existing site would be more than the cost of relocation.

Cllr Paul Douglas said: “The new Wood Street Library will be a modern state of the art facility giving local residents improved facilities in the heart of the community.

“To ensure local residents voice are heard we will be putting together a community board of residents who will advise on the design and facilities of the new library.

“Despite Government cuts we have not reduced the number of libraries in Waltham Forest and continued to invest to ensure our residents have modern facilities.”