Sir – CPRE Oxfordshire would like to express its concern about the effect of proposed county council cuts in services on rural areas of the county. We are particularly worried by the proposed closure of 20 smaller libraries, 15 of which are situated in villages. Five of the libraries proposed for closure: Benson, Berinsfield, Chinnor, Sonning Common and Woodcote, are among the 12 larger villages designated in South Oxfordshire’s Core Strategy as centres for services for the rural population.

These centres are strategically located so that no resident has to travel more than five kilometres to access these services.

Surely the two administrative bodies OCC and SODC should be working together on such matters? Provision of services in the rural parts of the county is often very poor.

Having been involved in the consultation on future provision of bus services in the county, we know that many routes will see cuts and some may be axed altogether.

Access to the libraries in the large towns will become more difficult for families without cars or for older people. We are urging the county council to reconsider the proposals to close libraries.

We understand that it may be necessary to cut hours and reduce the number of professionals employed and are encouraging the council to take advantage of the proposals in the Localism Bill to avoid total closure. Once closed, it is unlikely that the libraries will ever be re-established in the smaller communities.

Libraries are not just places to borrow books, but act as vital hubs for the rural community and we are not confident that a modern, efficient library can be or should be reliant on what may be a very small and technologically inexperienced pool of volunteers lacking professional training.

Dr Helena Whall, Campaign manager, CPRE Oxfordshire