PERSHORE residents have given their enthusiastic support to plans which could see the town's library remain in its current location.

A proposal which would see the town council purchase the Church Street library building from Worcestershire County Council was officially unveiled at a public meeting in Town Hall on Wednesday. More than 100 residents turned out to hear how both authorities have been working together in recent months to develop the idea which could also see a full refurbishment of the current building Last year, against a backdrop of having to save 28 per cent from its budget, the County Council's Libraries and Learning Service suggested moving the library to the nearby Civic Centre - the ongoing costs of maintaining the Church Street building were cited as the main reason for proposing the move. However at a meeting last March local residents voiced their concerns that a move away from the town centre could have a negative impact on visitor numbers at the library and trade in the town.

This led to both authorities joining forces to see if another solution was possible, and after detailed talks and lots of work behind the scenes the option for the Town Council to purchase the building was deemed viable. The cost of refurbishment could be as much as £500k, but it's hoped that volunteers from within the area will step forward to keep those costs to a minimum. Work will be funded from the Town Council's own budget, a low interest rate loan and from external grants and under the proposals the County Council, which would still provide the professional staff to run the service, would pay the Town Council £10k per year in rent plus rates for an initial five year period. Pershore's Visitor Information Service would also be run from the new-look building.

The proposal will need the approval of the County Council's Cabinet when it meets in December.

Town councillor Chris Parsons MBE also paid tribute to the help and co-operation given by officers at the County Council, adding: “Worcestershire County Council and Pershore Town Council have worked extremely hard on this project during the past year and we were pleased to advise residents of the proposals. If the plans go ahead Pershore will be provided with a modern library with enhanced facilities to move forward into the future. It’s all very exciting."

Early designs of how the refurbished building could look were also available at the meeting and will remain available for perusal in Town Hall for residents for the next few weeks.