TWO Abergavenny community groups have called on the leader of Monmouthshire council for reassurance amid concerns for the future of its library and One Stop Shop.

The chairmen of Abergavenny and District Civic Society, Tony Konieczny and Chris Edmondson, of the Bryn y Cwm Community Forum, have written to Councillor Peter Fox to voice their concerns about the proposed merger of One Stop Shops and Libraries into community hubs.

Their fears come after the cabinet met earlier this month to support a proposal to integrate the One Stop Shops and libraries into a single staff team and building, reducing full time staff from 42 to 30.

The council will consult residents next month on its budget-saving proposals and make a final decision in late January.

A saving of £7million is being delievered for 2014/15 and total of savings now required from 2015/16 onwards are £20.7million.

In the letter, Mr Konieczny and Mr Edmondson claim that Abergavenny is getting a disproportionate service and that this was more about cost cutting than the service itself.

It said: ‘Whilst acknowledging the difficult financial position that Monmouthshire council has to contend with and the budget requirement to reduce the spending of the enterprise directorate by 20 percent, the steering committees of both the above associations are concern that the proposals to manage this change should be evidence-based and proportional.’

‘We are concerned that the initial proposals to create community hubs for Monmouthshire appear to offer an identical structure for Abergavenny and Chepstow (six full time equivalent posts) with a slightly smaller capacity for Caldicot and Monmouth of five.’

For Abergavenny this represents almost a 50 percent reduction from 12.5 posts across the library and One Stop Shop Services.

‘As Abergavenny is the largest settlement in the county, servicing the hinterland of Bryn y Cwm, we feel that the impact here is disproportionate and should like to know how the new proposals will be put into effect as it is difficult to comprehend how less than half of the existing staff will be able to deliver anything but a marked cut in service.’

Mr Edmondson and Mr Konieczny have asked that the council look at their concerns and share its conclusions with the community.

The council’s deputy leader, Cllr Bob Greenland stressed that they are just proposals at this stage and will be subject to consultation.

He said: “If the proposals can be improved through consultation, then the consultations will have been successful, but we need to be clear, no change will lead to service closures which we are trying to avoid.”