YOUTH centres and libraries in Banbury will close under money-saving council proposals, unless volunteers come forward to run them.

Oxfordshire County Council has announced plans to stop funding 20 of Oxfordshire’s 43 libraries from next year, to save £2m over four years, and cut back its youth services to save £4.2m.

The council plans to stop funding libraries in Deddington and Adderbury, and create a youth service hub at Woodgreen, Banbury, to cover the town and surrounding villages.

Youth workers were in the process of moving in to the brand new developer- built Grimsbury Youth Centre at the former Cattle Market site, off Merton Street, but that has been shelved.

The site is currently standing empty, and £10,000 of new equipment, including pool tables, furniture and music gear, is in storage.

The county council said the £3m Woodgreen centre, which is currently being built, will become the Banbury hub.

It would house a restructured youth service, and workers to tackle school exclusion, teenage pregnancy, drug use, antisocial behaviour, youth offending and unemployment.

But it is unclear whether the original plans for the facility, which included an outside sports area as well as indoor performance hall with stage, music practice rooms, an art room, a fitness suite, a workshop and a cafe area, would change.

When asked by the Banbury Cake, the council would not say if or how those plans had changed.

Mike Beal, chairman of Community and Youth Workers in Unite union, said: “Grimsbury has been seriously let down by this news.

“The area is worse off now than it was 20 years ago.

“I really hope this is not just the start of a dismantling of youth services across the county.”

Ann Bonner, town district and county councillor, said: “We need a youth provision in Grimsbury and I’m hopeful we will be able to use the building.

“We have had some drastic cuts, some of the biggest cuts in a generation.”

County council leader Keith Mitchell warned people protests would effectively fall on deaf ears.

He said: “What we need now is a Big Society to demonstrate their support for local village services by offering to support them.

“I fear petitions and protests will not be effective because, as Liam Byrne, an ex-minister in the Labour government, said in his leaving note, ‘The money is all spent.’ “It’s uncomfortable, but we have a national crisis in terms of the financial situation and we are all going to bear the pain.”

Adderbury parish councillor, Ivor Burgess, said it was likely the village library would be run as a community project.

He said: “I suspect that very few people will be very pleased with the idea of having our library closed.

“It hasn’t come out of the blue, and we have a focus group involved in the library and I suspect it will be run on a voluntary basis.”

He agreed with Mr Mitchell’s comment that protests were a waste of time, adding: “I suspect it’s hopeless.”