Plans to cut the opening hours of Temple Hill Library have been met with opposition from concerned users who fear of a "devastating effect on the community."

These cuts are proposed as part of Kent County Council's new three-year draft strategy for the 99 libraries across Kent which could see opening hours changed and staff numbers cut in a bid to save the council £1 million.

This draft strategy is currently up for public consultation but if approved, it would see Temple Hill library's hours slashed from 40 hours per week to just 23 hours per week.

Last Saturday, members of Dartford Labour stood outside the library encouraging visitors to sign their petition calling for an end to the proposed cuts.

Temple Hill Labour Councillor Tom Maddison said: "Temple Hill library is used regularly by many local residents and community groups who rely on the services the Library and staff provide.

"It really is essential that we stop these cuts to opening hours - they will have a devastating effect on the community here in Temple Hill.

"With the huge number of new homes currently being built just opposite Temple Hill library, it is the wrong decision to make these cuts and the Conservatives should think again."

A spokesman for KCC said that although the strategy seeks to cut opening hours of some libraries, other libraries will see their opening hours increased.

He also noted that the strategy will also bolster the accessibility of services by having an emphasis on digitising collections and continuing to develop the online archives services.

KCC’s Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, Mike Hill, has said he acknowledges the high value of library service but "it is not immune from the financial pressures on all county council services."

"We have been working on a three-year strategy which is intended to protect the future of all our libraries and our archive and registration offers and, in fact, enhance some of these services.

"being open at times when libraries are not well used is not a good use of taxpayers money," he said.

The public consultation is open until January 29. It is available online here and a number of drop-in events have been scheduled for those wish to attend them.