A wake will be held today to mark the demise of Heathfield library as it closes its doors for the last time following 50 years of service.

Campaigners are due to gather outside the library dressed in black to mourn its closure today, before joining a funeral march to Heathfield Junior School where it had been hoped a replacement library would be built.

Heathfield ward Councillor John Coombs said the march was being held to “say goodbye to the library from as many people as possible”.

The library was closed after the land it stood on was sold in 2008 to make way for a health centre.

It had been hoped £400,000 from the sale of the land would be used to build a temporary library at Heathfield Junior School.

However, the plan was scrapped by Richmond Council in a bid to save money from its libraries budget.

Instead the council announced it would be running a limited library service from Whitton Community Centre on March, which will stock a range of books for all ages and offer internet access, last week.

The plan was instantly criticised for its limited opening hours, which will see it open for just three hours a day during the week and closed at weekends.

Cobbet Road resident and mum, Nicola Goddard, said “I’m worried that the new hours will further hinder educational services within the area.

“I really on the library to help with extracurricular activates with my daughter. The new hours will make this impossible.”

The Twickenham Labour Party have called on the council to rethink their plans and offer a “fairer solution” to the residents of Heathfield.

Party chairman Mark Walker said: “It’s unfair that the poorest residents in the borough lose the most.

“In the run up to the local elections Councillor Fleming said that in a time of recession that libraries were more important than ever - it’s time the council acted on this belief.”

A spokeswoman from campaign group Voices for the Library hit out at the reduced hours.

She said: “It’s the way a lot of libraries are moving but, many people can’t go to libraries during working hours.

“The three hours should at least be on a Saturday or in the evening.”

A open day was held on Wednesday at Heathfield library for people to find out more about the access point.

Councillor Pamela Fleming, Richmond Council’s cabinet member for community development said: “I am sorry that people are upset about the closure of Heathfield Library.

"However, this decision was made in 2008 when the site was sold.

“We always said we wanted to keep a library service in Heathfield and we have carried out a number of consultations with residents, including two public meetings, to consider alternative ways of providing services in the area.

"The community will still be able to borrow books and enjoy other library services at the staffed Library Access Point opening on March 28 at Whitton Community Centre, just a few steps away from the old library.“

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