LIBRARIES axed by Flintshire Council as part of cost-cutting measures could have been saved.

That was the claim from one councillor after finance chiefs announced savings of more than £330,000 within community services.

Gwernaffield Library closed on April 15 followed by Garden City Library on May 6.

No date has been set for the closure of libraries in Halkyn or Bagillt but campaigners are still fighting to keep both open.

Finance chiefs announced savings of £332,000 during February by making cutbacks in their services to older people, children and the homeless.

Councillor Aaron Shotton, leader of the Labour group in Flintshire, said the money could have been used to keep libraries open.

The claim was made during a meeting of the council’s corporate resources overview and scrutiny committee at County Hall yesterday when a budget monitoring report was presented to members.

Cllr Shotton told the meeting: “It is a great shame that we have seen libraries close.

“Some of the money that is now being found in-year directly correlates with the costs that were needed to keep the libraries open.

“We’re just not smart enough as a council. We need to be smart in our budget setting process.”

Cllr Shotton added he was relieved the council’s position had changed from a overspend to an underspend.

Council leader Arnold Woolley said: “One has to look at value for money and spending what pennies we have to best effect.”

Following the meeting Lawrence Rawsthorne, head of culture and leisure at Flintshire Council, said: “Bagillt and Halkyn libraries remain open as we are in discussions with Bagillt and Halkyn community councils about their funding of library services in those communities.”