A DECISION to allocate only one hour for a meeting on the future of four Bradford Council libraries has sparked protest by some councillors.

The Labour-controlled authority is proposing that all bar seven libraries will be either be closed or run by voluntary groups as part of budget proposals to be thrashed out by the full council next month.

The futures of Baildon, Burley, Menston and Silsden libraries will be consulted on at a meeting in Keighley Library from 6pm to 7pm this Thursday.

An informal "drop-in" session will also be held from 4pm to 6pm.

The opposition Conservative group's education spokesman, Councillor Debbie Davies said it was unfair to grant such little time to hearing views on such an important subject and that Keighley was an inconvenient venue.

"Bradford's got its magnificent seven libraries it wants to keep open and it's just tough luck for the rest of us and having such a short meeting in Keighley is an insult," said Cllr Davies (Con, Baildon).

"Many people who care about libraries are elderly, without private transport or have young families and won't be able to get there.

"Why has Bradford Council decided to do this and with very little warning?

"They've had months to sort this out, yet they're behaving as if it's just cropped up.

"I'm not against making savings and community-run libraries may run very well in some places but this is not a user-friendly way of doing things - for all the council's claims that it will listen to people."

Liberal Democrat group leader, Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, joined the criticism.

"The Council needs to be more responsive - it is ridiculous not to talk to people about this properly," she said.

"I believe communities are quite resilient and will support their libraries, but change is difficult.

"So it's barmy not to engage with people - the Council must consult properly."

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, the council's executive member in charge of libraries, however, defended the manner of the public consultation process.

"It's good that local councillors are playing their part in publicising the library budget proposals however they also need to focus their energies on finding a solution for how to sustain local public services in the face of massive Government cuts," she said.

"Consultation events are being held in those libraries which have the most space and best accessibility to most people.

"While Baildon may have good accessibility for Baildon, it is not very accessible for Silsden. Keighley Library is a large venue with good town centre access and nearby parking.

"The whole purpose is to get views from the widest number of people. The public meetings are only part of how we are consulting. We are distributing more than 5,000 consultation forms to all libraries and the budget has been widely publicised online.

"I can confirm that the responses we are getting so far show that people already know about the library budget proposals as we have had a high number of responses."

The seven libraries the council intends to keep under its control are: Bradford City Library, Shipley, Keighley, Bingley, Eccleshill, Manningham and Ilkley and space will be made for anyone wishing to attend any consultations.