TWO Somerset libraries will close after community groups failed to come forward offering to help run them.

The final chapter for the facilities in Highbridge and Sunningdale will end on Saturday, December 29, to be replaced with new 'outreach' services in the New Year.

A further 13 facing possible closure have been saved after community partners stepped forward to express and interest in forming community library partnerships (CLPs).

They will help operate the premises along with Somerset County Council.

Lead partners of the 13 have been announced, with library buildings set to remain open in these communities until March 31, 2019 while work progresses to develop CLPs with the aim of keeping them open into the future.

If agreements cannot be reached, library buildings will close and mobile/outreach services put in place.

The county revealed last month that it would retain 19 of its portfolio of libraries and seek help from communities to run the other 15.

Cllr David Hall, cabinet member with responsibility for libraries at County Hall, said: "We are extremely pleased with the number and quality of expressions of interest that have been submitted.

"We consider all of them have potential to develop into viable CLPs.

"The majority of community partners have positive ambitions for their local libraries, with many communities seeking to make improvements to the current offer - whether by increasing opening hours, seeking improved premises, or developing the range of events and activities.

"A lot of work remains, however, and all the proposals are dependent on a range of factors, and some require difficult issues to be resolved.

"Legal agreements, staffing and premises arrangements, for example, will need to be developed and agreed, but this is an extremely positive first step in the process."


Bishops Lydeard - lead partner Bishops Lydeard and Cothelstone Parish Council, staff led with possible supplementary volunteers;

Nether Stowey - Friends of Nether Stowey Library, volunteer led;

North Petherton - North Petherton Town Council, staff led, with possible supplementary volunteers;

Porlock - Porlock Parish Council, volunteer led;

Priorswood - Friends of Taunton Library, staff, with supplementary volunteers;

Somerton - Somerton Library Trust, staff led, supplemented by volunteers;

South Petherton - South Petherton Parish Council, staff led, with possible supplementary volunteers;

Watchet - Watchet Town Council, staff led;

Wiveliscombe - Wiveliscombe Town Council, staff led.

The Priorswood bid is dependent on third party funding to allow the library to be open without staff or volunteers present. If the funding is not forthcoming, it would close in April 2019.

The Watchet scheme is conditional on a request for the freehold asset transfer of the library building by its owner, West Somerset Council. If that falls through, the library would close in April.