ANGRY residents have hit out at Somerset County Council's decision to extend a consultation into the county's libraries with one saying the council has 'disturbed a hornet's nest'.

Somerset County Council (SCC) launched a 12 week consultation into the future of Somerset's libraries on January 29 which could result in the closure of 15 of 34 libraries unless ‘community involvement’ is found to keep them running.

The consultation was due to run until April 22 but the closing date has until Wednesday, June 13 after SCC listened to feedback from the public, partners, councillors and communities.

Councillor David Hall, cabinet member for resources and economic development at Somerset County Council, made the decision on March 15 to give communities more time to help plan for the possible future delivery of library services.

Dave Chapple from the Save Highbridge Library campaign group said: "The SCC decision to extend the consultation is, in my view, because the SCC Conservative ruling group realise they have disturbed a hornet's nest of anger and discontent in many Conservative areas of the county.

"We are doing all we can to save the library, we are working with Churchfield School in a unique collaboration that I have not seen before as a community activist in Somerset for over 40 years.

"We are prepared to lobby any council meting to argue for support and we have launched a petition to save the library and are placing copies of it in shops, supermarkets, schools and anywhere that will have them."

At the meeting Cllr Hall said in response to a number of requests, further information on what a ‘Community Library Partnership’ and ‘Library Outreach Services’ could mean for library users is also now available, the questionnaire updated and based on the library respondents visit most often (rather than an area), and extra detail added to the proposals.

Following the decision, the additional information and updated questionnaire will be available online at the council's website or in all Somerset libraries from Wednesday, March 21.

Cllr Hall said: “Thank you to all those who have responded so far - that feedback has been recorded and will be taken into account.

“It’s important to us and it’s important to you that we make our library service sustainable for the future. You said you wanted more time to consider the proposals, more information and we have listened.

“We will make decisions only when we are confident we have as detailed a picture as possible on how our proposals could affect you, your family and your community. Giving you more information and more time will help both you and us achieve this.”

All responses to the consultation submitted before Wednesday, March 21, will be fully considered by decision makers, but those who have already shared their views are encouraged to review the additional information online or on the website above and in any Somerset library.

Any further comments people would like to make after reviewing this supplementary information should email

Alternatively, write to Libraries Consultation 2018, B3S, County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY or contact Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224.