The pages of Dickens and Jane Austen will be left unturned by Heathfield residents after being left off the shelf in a new replacement library service.

They are two of the famous authors whose novels have not made the cut of books on the shelves at a new access point, which opened in Whitton community centre last Monday, following the closure of Heathfield library on March 17.

Residents have hit out at the limited collection and the opening hours, which only allow visitors to use it from Monday to Friday, excluding Wednesday.

Julie Mearing said: “It would be nice to see more books. The only day I can go is Tuesday [when the library is open until 6pm] as I work.”

Richmond Council announced it would open the access point at the community centre, in Percy Road, to replace Heathfield library, which closed after the land it stands on was sold in 2008.

Plans by the previous Liberal Democrat authority to open a replacement temporary library in the grounds of Heathfield Junior School were scrapped by the current Conservative council.

Heathfield and Whitton residents were asked to share their thoughts on how Whitton library could be improved in a consultation, set to be launched on April 4.

A council spokeswoman said of 7,030 books registered to Heathfield library, about 1,500 were at the access point, 5,000 were available to loan and stock would be rotated and new books bought.


JOANNA KILVINGTON put the new library to the test...

It seems like Dickens’s invite got lost in the post when it came to choosing which books would be picked for the new access library.

Lynn Barber and Virginia Woolf, who both lived in Richmond for a period, also had their work shunned.

However, Twickenham MP Vince Cable must be chuffed his book The Storm made it through – although fellow MP Zac Goldsmith’s novel The Constant Economy was nowhere to be seen.

Despite a limited collection, when I visited the access point on Tuesday I found it warm and inviting and the staff friendly.

I welcomed the news the books on offer would be rotated with others from Richmond Council’s stock and could be ordered from the borough’s remaining libraries.

Sadly, I fear it’s unlikely many Heathfield residents will ever get the chance to visit the facility due to its not-so-friendly opening hours.