RUBERY Library will reopen in September, council chiefs have promised - refuting claims that they are using the pandemic as 'an excuse' to keep it closed.

Councillor Peter McDonald, who led a successful drive to keep the then under-threat library open in 2019, is unhappy the library remains shut at present.

“It really is sharp practice by Worcestershire County Council not to include one of the main libraries in the County on the re-opening list," he criticised.

"The County Council are using the pandemic as an excuse not to re-open Rubery Library knowing it serves a large community and three schools.

"The library is the cornerstone of our community and is more of a community library where people can socialise and get lost in the wonderful world of books.

"Libraries such as ours are the culture nerve centre for local communities. They give people an educational public space to visit.

"Those ever-increasing number of people on universal credit must go online to apply for benefits and without the library there is nowhere else for them to have access to computers making their situation even worse than it is.

"I have called upon the Council to review the situation and have Rubery Library re-opened as soon as possible.

"We will fight tooth and nail in Rubery to ensure future generations are not robbed of this vital service.”

In response, Worcestershire County Council says the need for safety is behind the delay in reopening the library.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member with responsibility for communities, said: “The safety of our staff and library customers is a top priority.

"The phased re-opening of Worcestershire’s libraries is consistent with the national approach and is being carried out in line with Government guidance on the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

"It has enabled us to support social distancing and ensure safe operating procedures are in place.

"It also continues to reflect the availability of local library staff and volunteers.

"As set out in the approach to library re-opening that was noted and endorsed at Cabinet, Rubery Library is set to open as part of the final phase of re-opening in September.”