OPENING hours at Worcester's iconic Hive could be slashed, it has emerged.

Worcestershire County Council is looking at ways to save cash at the £60 million library, which costs taxpayers £2.3 million a year in subsidies.

As well as staffing and running costs the money goes towards paying off a Private Finance Initiative, which is also being renegotiated.

The council is looking at the hours as part of a root-and-branch review into the costs, with leader Councillor Adrian Hardman saying a report will come to the cabinet in the near future.

The building is open from 8.30am to 10pm every day at the moment, and only last month was named the second most popular library in the country.

Coun Hardman said the council was having to reluctantly look at all its options due to unprecedented budget pressures.

He said: “The Hive is a tremendously successful building, it’s the second most viewed library in the country but quite rightly we are looking at ways to reduce the running costs, we are having to look at everything.”

“I was there the other day and was amazed by how busy it was, it’s an iconic building which is incredibly well used.

“The details of what we decide to do will come forward in a cabinet paper.”

Speaking during a full council meeting, he said the opening hours and other running costs would be looked at.

The archives and archaeology department, which is based inside The Hive, is having its funding cut from £1.2 million a year to £450,000 in April, as your Worcester News revealed last month.

The council is also looking at ways to charging for services, and the possibility of having weddings there.

Councillor Peter McDonald, from the opposition Labour group said: "It won’t be the second busiest library in the country for long if we start cutting things and charging for services.”

The cuts are aimed at saving £98 million by 2017.

Around £18 million is being cut in the current financial year and a record £29 million needs to be slashed off budgets in 2014/15, starting in April.