COUNCILLORS from across South Craven have spoken out against cost-cutting proposals to make Cross Hills Library volunteer-run.

North Yorkshire County Council is consulting on proposals to make Cross Hills and three other Craven libraries - Bentham, Ingleton and Settle - community managed, receiving support from a core library at Skipton.

The county council's library budget has fallen from £7.8 million in 2010 to an expected £4.2 million by 2019-20.

South Craven county councillor Philip Barrett (Ind) said: "Crippling budget cuts have placed the county council in an extremely difficult position. However, having examined the consultation proposals in detail I don't believe they would provide the best library service possible from the available £4.2 million reduced budget.

"Alternative proposals need to be considered which could also reduce the unrealistic reliance on volunteer-run community libraries throughout Craven."

Representatives from the library service joined several South Craven parish councillors in attending a meeting of Glusburn and Cross Hills Parish Council to discuss the library consultation, which ends on February 8.

Cllr Patrick Hargreaves, vice chairman of Glusburn and Cross Hills Parish Council, said: "It seems to be accepted that the big libraries would be retained while the smaller ones, like ours, are having to the shoulder the balance of the cuts."

He said the proposed cuts "seemed rigid".

"From my point of view, they need to look at these libraries on a case by case basis," said Cllr Hargreaves. "Cross Hills Library has a higher proportion of younger users (aged 0-15), the building is bought and paid for and running costs are relatively low compared to other library premises."

A Sutton Parish Council spokesman said: "It serves all of this area. It was refurbished a few years ago, and attendance has doubled since that time. We're concerned about keeping the quality of service."