There are concerns for the future of a popular library in Ealing after the council announced it intends to end the lease at its current home.
At a cabinet meeting on Tuesday (July 10) councillors confirmed they intend to close Pitshanger Library when the 16-year lease comes up for renewal in December 2018.
It's just one of a large number of community centres, children's centres, libraries and schools that could be sold off, redeveloped or relocated to help the council make savings in the wake of government grant cuts.
They will look to provide a less expensive "community-led" library and council leader Julian Bell suggested this could be located at nearby St Barnabas Church.
But Conservative leader Greg Stafford is livid at the decision and fears it won't be anything like the current facility.
"This is a well used library, it's a focal point for people and it has an extensive children's library and the fear is that all this is going to be lost," he said.
"This is an utter disaster for the local people who use Pitshanger Library and for the future of Pitshanger Lane which last year won the Great British High Street accolade.
"The idea that a comparable service can be provided by volunteers operating out of a site not designed for a library, such as St Barnabas Church is total nonsense.
"More shockingly, with under six months until the lease runs out on the current site, the council hasn’t even begun to identify alternative sites or put any plans in place.
"This is going to leave the people of Pitshanger and the surrounding area without a library – one of the focal hubs of community life."
The Labour group, however, says it only has to make the change because of Tory government grant cuts.
Councillor Jasbir Anand, cabinet member for business and community services at Ealing Council, responded: “The local Tories know that their government has slashed our core funding by two-thirds.
"This means that Ealing Council has to find £57 million over the next four years and that they are forcing us to consider ways to reduce our costs.
"We want to keep a library service in the area and although the lease is ending at the current site, we are actively looking at options for an alternative community library.
"We will be talking to community organisations and resident groups over the coming weeks. We will also be in contact with the landlord of the current site while discussions take place, as there may be options for a rolling lease should it be necessary.”
Whilst the report states an alternative for the library will be looked at, Mr Bell said the council was not looking to move it to other commercial premises, but instead is hoping to find a "community location".
He suggested that St Barnabas Church might be appropriate but confirmed no contact has been made with the church or any other community location so far.
Mr Stafford said the relocation of the library is typical of Labour's "penny pinching" attitude to services as it seeks to save cash in the light of government grant cuts.
"The money they save on this lease isn't going to make up for the loss in government grants," he said.
"Labour has continually promised they won't close down libraries but everything they do suggests the opposite. Ealing are closing Pitshanger by the back door."
The council is also working alongside the developer British Land to move Ealing Central Library to a new, modern space within Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre, close to the current location.
It says the new library will offer greater access to digital and self-service facilities, accommodate roughly 40,000 books and provide a range of study areas.
It will be designed to enable the space to be used flexibly in a variety of ways, including for events, activities and adult learning classes.
But Mr Stafford believes it is a cost saving exercise and claims it will mean a 70% reduction in library stock.
The council also plans to review the use of four other libraries - Hanwell, Perivale, Greenford and Wood End.
Plans to sell off the Cornucopia Building in Spikesbridge Park, Southall, Verona Terrace Car Park in Norwood Green, Southall, and 15 Florence Road, Ealing are also mentioned.
Many other council sites including children's centres, car parks and community centres are being considered for co-location or development - where services would be placed in the same building or where affordable housing would be built alongside existing council facilities.
These include Ealing Town Hall, the Michael Flanders Centre in Acton, the Young Adults Centre in Southall, Northolt Grange Community Centre, The Limes in Merrick Road, Southall, Dame Gertrude Hostel in Castlebar Road, St Anne's School and Wood End Library.
It is part of an overall strategy the council says will help to meet community needs more effectively as well as saving cash.