NEGOTIATIONS are underway on proposals which could save a library in a deprived area from closure.

Harrow Green Library in Cathall Road, Leytonstone, and South Chingford Library in Hall Lane will be shut under council plans to save £1 million.

Residents are hoping to set up a community library in Chingford to keep the service running and it has now emerged that a Leytonstone councillor has opened talks with town hall bosses on plans to keep Harrow Green open.

Nicholas Russell said the library’s adult and children sections could be merged and opening hours of smaller branches in the borough reduced to cut staff costs.

Alternatively, Cllr Russell said all branches could have opening hours reduced.

Plans to extend opening hours at Leytonstone or Leyton's main library could also be abandoned, leaving a budget shortfall in the service of just £11,000.

"We are still trying to get the necessary budget figures to work out how we can make up the remaining shortfall," he told library campaigners in an email seen by the Guardian.

Ros Kane, of Matcham Road, Leytonstone, has been helping to spearhead the campaign to save Harrow Green.

The 49-year-old said she was still determined to persuade the council to drop their plans for Harrow Green altogether.

She added: “We are still hopeful at the moment but there are opinions, such as Cllr Russell's proposals, which we could fall back on if we need to negotiate with the council.”

More than 3,000 residents have now signed a petition against the closure.

Campaigners are hoping to collect over 4,000 signatures and force a debate at full council.

Ms Kane added: “We're very confident of reaching the target. I've be knocking on doors every night for the last few weeks and opinion against closure is near unanimous.

“People can't believe the council would even contemplate doing this in such a deprived area.”

Cllr Geraldine Reardon, cabinet member for leisure, arts and culture, said: "The council has provided information in response to a number of requests, including from Cllr Russell, regarding Harrow Green Library.

“We will consider any formal proposal which is submitted by the end of the consultation period on September 9."

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