Save our library!

Cobbett Road Library
A proposal to close Bitterne Park’s library, in Cobbett Road, will be decided upon by Southampton City Council on March 19. Residents have only until February 28 to register objections.


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Cobbett Road Library is an important facility used by many of the residents in the Bitterne Park, Bitterne Manor and Midanbury area. Staff have been informed of a proposal to close the Library at the end of March, and a notice to this effect is also on display.

inside the library
The site for the library was originally given by a local resident. The library opened in May 1939.

Cobbett Road Library is a well-used, fully-functioning, recently refurbished facility which provides not only books and computers for public use, but fills an important social function in the community.  It has been the meeting place for many years for a variety of groups including toddler groups, an art group and the Townswomens Guild.  Last year the library clocked up around 53,000 visits.  
art group notice
The proposal to close the library centres around the money which could be made from the sale of the site.  Other libraries which might come into consideration for closure are protected by being in a Priority Neighbourhood, or would not release the same amount of money.


"Naturally I am against closure because there is no other library in Bitterne Park. Were a new one being built that may alter matters, but until then, if that ever happens, we need a library in Bitterne Park."  Bitterne Park's Cllr Peter Baillie

Destroying our community
Southampton’s lack of joined up thinking on planning issues is destroying our community at Bitterne Park — the loss of the post office, the loss of the chemist and the decision to allow Tesco Express to clog the road with traffic have clearly paved the way to total disintegration.  Our library is an important focal point for many of us, and without it people will feel further alienated from this increasingly homogenised city.  What good to the community is another block of gated flats?  

The original cost of the building was Ł9520

The Cobbett Road Library is enjoyed by many of us — many of the readers and users are older people, who would not be able to walk the distance to Bitterne Library, or Portswood Library.  Young people are strongly represented amongst the clientele, and on Saturday mornings many of the computers are taken up by young people and children doing homework and playing games.  They should be encouraged for this, not have this facility removed. Young people need more access to books, not less! 

Over the years many people have used Public Libraries and the books and information they offer as the key to their independent learning and educational development.  A flagship library in the town centre is of debatable use to many people who must think twice about investing the time and money required to go alone or take a family on the bus to a library in the town centre.  Accessibility is key to frequent usage. 
older readers
A mobile library cannot replace the social function Cobbett Library fills for many of the residents of the area:  it is a place where the staff are friendly, helpful, and have known many of the users for years; it is a meeting place, a place of learning, a rare place for young people to go, for older people to go, for groups to meet, it is a place to read the papers, order books, browse the shelves for new books, or old favourites, a place to find information, to use computers and the internet and the generation of money from the sale of the land is a very poor return for the loss of all this culture.

proposed closure sign
Proposed closure notice

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAVE THE LIBRARY you can write with your objections to this proposal to David Baldwin at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Or:  David Baldwin, Library Office, Central Library, Civic Centre, Southampton, SO14 7LW
Tel:  023 8083 4645. The closing date for comments is February 28.

You may also wish to copy letters to Councillor Sollitt - Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture, to your local Bitterne Park councillors, and to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (please include your name and address).

The date for the Cabinet meeting where the final decision will be made is March 19. There will be an opportunity for residents speak about the issue to Cabinet directly at an earlier meeting on March 5. For more information about how these meetings work and what you can do, click here.

If we do nothing the library will close forever on March 31.

Deborah Gearing



  • download flyers here and a poster here, and help spread the word in your street and beyond (Word format)
  • download a petition here (Acrobat PDF file - 140k)

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