A TEST Valley councillor has revealed a library could be saved from being axed as county bosses try to balance the books.

Cllr Alan Dowden, who represents Valley Park on the borough council, branded the plans to chop the number of libraries across the county from 48 to 38 a “kick in the teeth”, as Hampshire County Council (HCC) aims to save £1.76m by 2021.

Now the councillor has announced North Baddesley Community Library, Willis Avenue, could "be saved" after tabling a petition to the leader of HCC, cllr Keith Mans.

The petition was signed by almost 600 households in North Baddesley who object to the library being closed.

Mr Dowden said: "I think the leader of the council was receptive to what I was saying and for the sake of £11,000 are they really going to close a library that would affect 3,000 households?

"Keith Mans did seem to listen when I said each county councillors’s community grant could be reduced from £8,000 to £7,500, which could help provide the savings to secure the four community libraries under threat of closure."

The other libraries that could face the same fate as North Baddesley include Kingsclere, Lowford and Milford-on-Sea.

If the plans to chop the four community libraries are approved, the move would save £49,000.

County bosses have also proposed all 48 council-run libraries could remain open, but that would mean that they will all have their opening hours reduced by 25 percent.

Residents have the possibility to suggest new options as part of the public consultation which will close on March 18.

Cllr Dowden presented the petition at full council on Thursday, February 13.

At the full council last week, Cllr Sean Woodward said: "As the leader mentioned in his announcements earlier, we have had around 15,000 residents of Hampshire come forward.

"It's the most we ever have ever had in response to any consultation in the history of HCC.

"There are many options coming forward as well, cllr Dowden will be aware of some of them I am sure, and I will be looking very carefully at all possibilities.

"There are a whole range of options, even ones the library service has put forward and there are many options in there too."

He added: "We will be looking at all of those, including the ones cllr Dowden has suggested, before we make the decision next summer."