A LIBRARY axed by Hampshire County Council is set to reopen after the authority awarded villagers a £10,000 grant to help fund the project.

The county council is supporting plans put forward by Lyndhurst Community Centre, which wants to turn the book-lending facility into an independent community library.

Eight Hampshire libraries closed at the end of last year as part of a major cost-cutting drive.

But several organisations have put forward proposals to run the facilities themselves.

Now Lyndhurst Community Centre has been awarded a one-off grant to help fund the start-up and transition costs involved in reopening the library, which forms part of the building.

Cllr Stephen Reid, executive member for commercial strategy, human resources and performance, said: "The centre will be providing a valued service to the local community.

"The county council wishes them the greatest success as their plans for the independent community library move forward.”

The facility is due to open later this year after volunteers have been trained.

Rob Dewing, the centre's chairman of trustees, said: "Our new library will be part of a bigger project that will also create a new high-tech conference room and a permanent office for Lyndhurst Parish Council.

"Lyndhurst Community Centre is grateful to Hampshire County Council for its contribution towards the costs of opening the new library.

"We are also grateful to Lyndhurst Parish Council, with whom we are working in close partnership to deliver these new facilities."

The centre is one of five organisations that sought funding towards the cost of setting up independent community libraries.

As reported in the Daily Echo the other four applications were approved by Cllr Edward Heron, executive member for recreation, heritage, countryside and rural affairs, earlier this month.

Cllr Heron represents part of the New Forest.

He took no part in the Lyndhurst decision after declaring a potential conflict and Cllr Reid considered the application instead.

Another New Forest library - Blackfield - was also among the ones that were closed by the county council.