TWO libraries in Waltham Forest will be closed and four others will have their opening hours slashed under new proposals.

The South Chingford and Leytonstone Harrow Green branches will be shut down under the new plans, which Waltham Forest Council says will save it £1million over the next two years.

It is also proposed that Hale End, Higham Hill, Wood Street and Lea Bridge libraries be transformed into 'Library Local' branded facilities open 30 hours a week.

North Chingford, Walthamstow, Leyton and Leytonstone libraries will all be renamed as 'Library Plus' branches, which will be open seven days a week.

It is envisaged that these will also be used for other council services.

The council's cabinet will meet next Tuesday (June 14) to consider the plans and to vote on whether to launch a 12 week public consultation.

Following that "final proposals" will be drawn up for the cabinet to vote on in October.

A council report states: "Like all council services, libraries are not immune from the significant cuts in the resources available to the council.

"There is a requirement to deliver £750,000 of savings from the Library and Information Service and the council can no longer afford to pay for the £250,000 yearly overspend on the current budget.

"This means that the service will have to find £1 million, which represents just over 20 per cent of the total running costs.

"The council will manage the library’s physical, financial and staff resources effectively to ensure a high quality, value for money service is provided."

It adds: "Even without the financial pressures that the council faces, this is a timely point at which to review the services provided by libraries to ensure they are modern, relevant, and provide the kind of services that people need."

The council states that a shake-up will make the service more efficient and appeal to a wider section of the community, such as through improvements to its computer facilities.

The report says that the South Chingford and Harrow Green branches have been earmarked for closure because they are two of the worst performing libraries in the borough.

Are you a regular library user? What do you think? Contact reporter Daniel Binns on 0779 547 6625 or via email at

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