CAMPAIGNERS are hoping to save the axed Harrow Green Library in Leytonstone by reopening it with voluntary staff.

Last month councillors approved plans to close the branch, along with the South Chingford facility in Hall Lane, as part of measures to save £1million in two years.

The library is due to shut in December but residents are hoping to take over its management as soon as possible afterwards and run it in the same building at no extra expense to the taxpayer for at least one or two days a week.

It comes after the authority gave its support for a similar initiative in Chingford, where campaigners are planning to set up a community library at the former Waltham Forest Direct shop in Chingford Mount.

The council is in negotiations with campaigners but says no decision has been made.

Hayley Bowden, 29, of nearby Orange Grove, said she was hopeful that the proposals will be approved.

She said: “For me it's making the best of a bad situation. We're really unhappy at the thought of there being no library there. When I told my eight-year-old daughter that the council were definitely going to close it she cried for 20 minutes.

“We've already had quite a few people come forward wanting to be volunteers and we're determined to make it happen. One major question though is whether the council will let us have the book stock that's there, otherwise it will be difficult.

“The council has supported the people in Chingford with their volunteer library so it would be a bit unfair if they didn't do the same with us.”

Fellow campaigner Ros Kane, of Matcham Road, added: “We were bitterly disappointed that the council ignored the petition and I can't bear the thought of living in my road knowing it's closed. So there's nothing more we can do now but try and set up our own library.”

The council's cabinet member for resources, Cllr Afzal Akram, said: “We're looking at all options. We can return the building for community use or we may sell it or rent it, we're keeping an open mind.

“But what I can say is that when it does close the building will not stay empty for long. We'll sort out what's happening with it very soon.”

The Guardian is awaiting further information from the council.

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