A DECISION to close two libraries in Kirklees, withdraw the mobile library service and cut the opening hours of the other 24 libraries has been called in by Liberal Democrat councillors.

Cleckheaton Library will remain open but its opening times are to be reduced from 51 hours a week to 35 - something which ward councillor Kath Pinnock wants to challenge.

Cllr Pinnock told the Telegraph & Argus that she felt the process had not been transparent and it was not clear to her group members why certain libraries were chosen for closure, and why others had been designated town or community supported libraries.

It follows a decision made two weeks ago by Kirklees Council's cabinet on the future of the library service in order to cut £1.8 million from the budget.

She said: "Cleckheaton Library is the second busiest in Kirklees yet they want to cut its hours from 51 to 35 a week, which is a significant cut in hours. In contrast Huddersfield and Dewsbury libraries will be open 50 hours a week. There has been a lack of transparency as to how and why decisions have been made.

"Given Cleckheaton is so busy, there appears to be no rationale for reducing its hours so much - it should be the same as Dewsbury."

The call-in notice states: "The number of hours each library is to open does not appear to be supported by the evidence in the report. There is no financial information to support the decision taken on individual libraries."

It continues: "No consideration appears to have been given to the geographical spread of libraries and the travel times to reach them.

"No clear criteria have been laid out on the expectations for volunteer support in community supported libraries and yet the future of community supported libraries are dependent on a 75 per cent attendance level from volunteers."

A special meeting will now be held by the Council's overview and scrutiny management committee on Friday, October 23, at 9.30am, at Huddersfield Town Hall, which is expected to last most of the day.

The committee cannot overturn the decision but can recommend that the cabinet considers amending the decision.

Councillors, cabinet members, local residents and interested parties are expected to speak at the hearing. To register to speak call 01484 221000 and ask for the governance and democratic services team by 5pm on Thursday, October 22.

The cost-cutting plans involve keeping eight full-staffed town libraries, including Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike and Birstall, and 16 community supported libraries.

The two libraries to close are Thornhill Lees and Lepton, which is expected to take place from April next year. The changes also mean that more than 88 full-time equivalent positions are to go.

It follows a four-month public consultation, a debate earlier this summer at full council and petitions containing thousands of signatures against possible closures being handed to the authority.