Councillors say they will continue to fight proposed cuts to Dartford libraries as two of the borough's facilities are to have their opening times slashed under new regulations.

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

The new timetables, which will affect all nine libraries located in Dartford, will come into effect by September 30.

Temple Hill Library will suffer the most out of Dartford's nine libraries as it will see its opening times shift drastically from 40 hours a week to just 17.

This was followed by Dartford Library, which will see 15.5 hours chopped from its weekly operating schedule.

However, other facilities across the borough will have their opening times boosted, including Greenhithe Library which will now open for 28 hours a week, an increase of 16 hours compared to its current schedule.

Speaking on the cuts, deputy leader for Dartford Labour, Cllr Laura Edie said the group were saddened to learn of Temple Hill's situation but will continue to campaign against the proposal while they can.

"Libraries provide vital services, which have become even more significant since the roll out of universal credit.

"In order to access universal credit, the forms need to be filled out online and many rely on computer access in the library to complete these forms, to avoid their situation from becoming even more desperate.

"They are the centre point of any community, but once again we are seeing brutal funding cuts from central government that are yet another attack on the most vulnerable in our society, with 17.5 hours being cut in Temple Hill library alone," she said.

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Cllr Laura Edie, Labour councillor for Newtown

When approached for comment, a KCC spokesman said: "We appreciate the reduction in opening hours is disappointing.

"The decision was taken following a 10-week public consultation in which over 5,500 responses were received.

"The majority of those supported the strategy as a way forward for the service and the library tiering model which proposed reduced opening hours for some libraries and increasing hours for others.

"The pattern of opening hours at each library has recently been subject to a local engagement with library customers.

"During a three-week public engagement, customers were asked for their comments and invited to vote for their first and second preferences for the opening hours from a range of options for each library offered - each option was for a different arrangement of the same number of hours the library would be open.

"The results were carefully considered and the hours chosen have all been based on the results and comments made.

"The implementation is expected to save Kent County Council £960,000 over the next two financial years. All 99 of Kent’s libraries will be retained as part of the strategy.

"Unlike many other local authorities, Kent is committed to keeping all its libraries open."