THE Hale Business Association has warned that the reduction of services at the village library would be ‘detrimental to the viability’ of future enterprise in the area.

In an open letter to Trafford Council, the association said borough authority proposals that include downsizing the facility to make room for residential homes are ‘driven by the potentially high value of the site for redevelopment’.

They point to the Government-commissioned ‘Portas Report’, that found high streets needed to retain ‘community hub’ regions to remain viable and vibrant.

The library is one of several across the borough facing an uncertain future, with Trafford Council bosses suggesting it would not close before 2017.

In a joint statement on behalf of the association, Gillian and Patrick Franks said: “This is not just scaremongering. The struggle faced by all the country's village and town high streets and how they can be bolstered has been much debated in recent years.

“The Portas Report came up with that the recommendation that if traditional high streets were to survive in this multi-channel retail age, then they needed not just shops and food outlets but community hubs of the very type that Hale's wonderful library provides right now.

“It seems perverse that this important diversity is now threatened by the body that is supposed to be supporting regeneration.”

The council say that they are committed to providing a quality library service for customers, with at least 11 libraries remaining across the borough.

They add that a new library in Altrincham will offset reductions in service elsewhere.

The second phase consultation on the future of Hale library closed on February 27.

There are three proposals on the table for Hale library, which will go before councillors on March 18.

The first is the selling off of the current library site with a condition placed on any developer to provide a smaller library, with homes on the remainder of the site.

A second is selling off the current library site to a developer, who would have to commit to building a library elsewhere at no extra cost.

Or thirdly, selling off the current library site with a commitment by the purchaser to provide a temporary library up to 2017 on a lease basis, rent and service charge free and with no dilapidations liability.