SCRUTINY councillors at Newport City Council have agreed it is “important” to retain the Central Library building in the city centre, but possibly change its configuration.

A joint scrutiny committee meeting on Wednesday supported proposals made by a policy review group that have been looking into crossovers between the city’s libraries and community centres.

The committee's findings will now go to the council’s cabinet for approval.

The new proposals include retaining the Central Library building, but reducing the footprint of the library and museum space to one floor.

The report states to enable this, the art gallery could be relocated to the Riverfront theatre and services could be modernised within the library and museum.

Councillors agreed that this would also provide opportunity to move other services into the upper floors of the building.

The Central Library building in John Frost Square needs an estimated £2.5 million of repairs and its potential closure was highlighted as the way to maximise savings and help the council meet the library services budget cuts needed for 2016/17.

The joint policy review group report supported, in principle, a hub model proposal, which would see four modern libraries covering the Newport area.

Councillors supported using Bettws Library as the main hub for its area over Malpas, but considered expanding the Malpas community centre to retain a library service there.

Councillors also agreed opportunities are available for the library and community centre to co-locate in Ringland and Maindee.

It has already been agreed in principle to move Caerleon Library into the town hall and discussions were held looking into moving Rogerstone library to a hub at the Rivermead Centre.

Councillors also supported closures of two library services at Tredegar House and Carnegie. Services using the library could be moved into the Carnegie building.

Following Wednesday’s scrutiny meeting, councillor Jane Mudd said: “It was actually a very positive discussion around the library.

“I think it’s absolutely essential that we’ve got a presence in the city centre. It’s really important that people have access to it.

“If you reflect on the original proposals, through negotiation we’ve come out with some good ideas.”

A Newport City Council spokeswoman said: “This report supported the principle of a hub model of delivery to maximise the coverage of library provision across the city, however, the review group agreed it was important to retain the central library building but possibly change its current configuration and consider modernising the services on offer.

“The options being considered by the council range from the status quo to finding innovative new models of service delivery, partnership working and seeking input and support from volunteers will be considered particularly in the portfolio of continuing learning and leisure.”