THE BODLEIAN Library has been accused of snubbing Oxford after revealing it is to build a £25m book storage centre more than 27 miles away.

The library is to shift millions of its books to an industrial estate on the edge of Swindon, at South Moreton.

But the announcement means Oxford may miss out on jobs created by the centre.

The library is also facing criticism over the environmental impact – with books wanted in Oxford having to be carried on a 54-mile-round road trip.

Last year, the university was thwarted in its plans to build a £28m book depository on Oxford’s Osney Mead industrial estate after a long planning dispute, and has now bought the Swindon site.

John Tanner, city council cabinet member for a Cleaner, Greener Oxford, said: “It is a great pity if our planning decision has pushed Oxford’s Bodleian Library to Swindon.

“It will not do much for book retrieval or the carbon footprint. I would have preferred to see jobs coming to Oxford.

“I have nothing against Swindon, but the Bodleian Library, Swindon, does not have the same ring as the Bodleian Oxford.”

Green group leader Craig Simmons said: “It is good that the Bodleian was not allowed to build on a flood plain at Osney Mead.

“But there were other places in Oxford where they could have gone. The reason they haven’t is nothing to do with lack of space. They were looking for a site that was cheaper.

“It is disappointing. It means more traffic. I hope they will seek to minimise that by storing books locally, where possible.

“Swindon is in need of jobs and the people there should welcome the news. But it is very sad that the Bodleian felt it could not find anywhere to store its books in Oxfordshire.”

The original plan was to build a depository at Osney Mead, but it was opposed by campaigners who said the building would damage views of Oxford’s skyline and that the site was at risk of flooding.

The proposal was dismissed by a planning inspector.

Bodley’s librarian Dr Sarah Thomas said the university had not been able to risk a second lengthy planning battle.

She said: “We needed a site that was capable of being expanded and we were looking for somewhere that already had planning permission.

“We had pretty well scoured the whole of Oxfordshire.”

Dr Thomas said the books stored at Swindon would be predominantly low demand items and there would only be two deliveries a day to Oxford, significantly fewer than the 12 daily van journeys that would have carried books from Osney Mead.