A CALDICOT group is prepared to fight to retain the library in its current location as proposals emerge to relocate the service into the town centre.

Around 30 people, including members of Friends of Caldicot Library, met Monmouthshire council officers at the library on Woodstock Way to discuss the future of the library.

As part of the budget proposals which will go before full council tomorrow, libraries and one stop shop services will merge into one building.

The community hub proposal, if approved, will see a reduction in full-time staff from 43 to 30 and will save the council £300,000 in a full year. Bernard John, chairman of Friends of Caldicot Library, said: “We are deeply concerned on behalf of the staff and the implications throughout the county.

“With the proposed merger, staff on both sides at the one stop shop and library will have to cover each other.

“We do not want standards to drop.” At the meeting Monmouthshire officers posed the idea of relocating the library to a shop unit in the town centre.

“Although the relocation is not part of budget proposals the council are currently producing a detailed business case to support further changes to the library.

Mr John said: “There is a strong feeling against this as the library was purpose built, the space was designed to be light and airy and we cannot see how a retail unit could facilitate the needs of all the different groups who use the library.”

He said there was a lot of support, interest and passion for the services, especially the building.

“The library was built as for 20-odd years it was run out of a portable cabin. We have fought hard for the building,” he added.

Kellie Beirne, chief officer for Enterprise at Monmouthshire council, said: “A productive meeting generated some excellent ideas and allowed us to exchange views.

“For example, The Friends of Caldicot Library are very keen to retain the use of the word ‘ library’ in relation to the service and we believe we can work together to accommodate this.”