PLANS by Oxford City Council to vacate offices at Bury Knowle House have prompted fears over the future of Headington Library.

The library is on the ground floor of the Grade-II listed building with the city council’s leisure department housed on the first floor.

The city council owns the building, and leases the library space to Oxfordshire County Council.

Now its budget papers have revealed it will vacate the offices to save cash.

It has raised speculation about the impact the plan will have on the library, although the authority has said it will do nothing to cause the closure of the facility.

Stella Welford, of Friends of Old Headington, said: “Obviously we wouldn’t want the library to go. We would prefer that the house is well used and occupied.

“It would seem such a shame if it was not going to be used.”

In 2010 Oxfordshire County Council signed a 21-year lease for the ground floor with the city council, which owns the building.

The county council has paid a total of £92,900 to cover up until March 2016. From then they will pay a rent of £16,300 a year.

Headington city councillor Ruth Wilkinson said: “Headington residents need reassurance that Bury Knowle House will continue to be used as a community asset, in the longer term, not just in the short and medium term.

“They need to know their library is here to stay.”

Headington Library has been named one of Oxfordshire’s core libraries by the county council and will remain fully staffed by council employees.

It was the focus of a long-running campaign to keep it open after the county council planned to cut funding to its libraries last year.

Councillor Ed Turner, executive member for finance and efficiency at the city council, said: “As a council we’re trying to reduce our office space, both to save money and to reduce our carbon footprint.

“The idea will be, in time, to consolidate officers currently at Bury Knowle in the city centre, though there are no very firm plans.

“We would not do anything to precipitate the closure of the library.”

The council said there were no “firm plans” in place as to when the offices may be vacated.

County council spokesman Owen Morton said they had not been contacted by the city council and had no comment to make.