LIBRARIES could be the next thing to leave local authority control as Greenwich Council looks to save millions of pounds over the next three years.

Greenwich Save Our Services, a group set up to fight the council’s cuts plans, says it has seen proposals to hand control of the borough’s libraries from the local authority to a trust.

The group says that the transferral could take place after the Directorate of Culture and Community Services is disbanded, though News Shopper understands that no details have been finalised.

Group secretary Paul Callanan said: “This move is not about saving the service, in fact it is a very dishonest and cowardly proposal.

“As well as not mentioning it at the council meeting, what the council are doing is transferring the service out and hoping that somebody else makes the cut.”

He added: “We will fight together with library users against this attack on our library service."

Back in 2008, proposals to shut libraries at Coldharbour, Charlton, Ferrier and Abbey Wood along with the mobile and school library services were mistakenly included in a council meeting agenda before being dropped.

Greenwich Council recently announced cuts totalling £21.43m but has warned around £65m may eventually need to be found after its funding from the government was slashed.

A spokeswoman said: “The council's priority is to maintain and improve services in extremely difficult circumstances.

“We are working on plans that will protect frontline services from the severity of the coalition government's cuts by reorganising our back office staffing arrangements.

“The trust model which has been so successful with our leisure centres potentially enables us to save the costs of rates for libraries and gives a greater chance of us being able to keep them open.“

Greenwich Leisure Limited, a leisure trust, currently leases the council’s facilities under a contractual arrangement to deliver the services to residents.

In neighbouring Lewisham, proposals to close five libraries have led to months of campaigning by protest groups and a delay in any decision while alternative ways of running the facilities are found.