WINDERMERE Library could shut for months for major refurbishment works – raising fears about services to residents.

As well as the library, South Lakes Citizens Advice and South Lakes Housing operate from the building, a meeting heard.

The Ellerthwaite Road property belongs to Cumbria County Council which has held talks with a charitable trust about taking it over on a long term lease.

The trust, the Lake District Paradise Project, has big plans to make improvements and raise visitor numbers from 11,000 a year to 16,000.

Library services and the Lake District Holocaust Project would remain.

Cllr Mark Wilson said a closure would cut off support to residents.

He said: “I know that when the council has closed buildings in Ulverston, we’ve had to make other arrangements and sometimes they are not always perfect.”

He said the Windermere wasn’t all “millionaires and Porsches” and that number of residents were on the poverty line or below.

“We still have to have a full range of support services from citizens advice to financial resilience,” said Cllr Wilson, the Labour member for Ulverston East.

Cllr Shirley Evans said it was vital alternatives were put in place.

“People like CAB can’t go away for six months,”  Cllr Evans, the Liberal Democrat member for Kendal Nether.

County council area manager Karen Johnson said new arrangements would be made in due course.

Mrs Johnson said: “I am quite confident they would continue – either through the library space itself or in the wider building. A bit like we did with Ambleside library, we had to close it down for a time, and we opened up a pop-up library in the parish rooms. We would look to do something similar in Windermere. We would have to find a space that was suitable and it would not be the full library offer.”

Ideas could include using Ambleside Library for a time, said Mrs Johnson, who said the detail would follow later.

Windermere mayor John Saunders said although the plans looked very promising they had led to significant concerns.

“It’s probably the most prestigious building we have in the town. It represents a hub with our only central car park. With anything like this, it’s the specifics that matter,” said Cllr Saunders.

The final lease deal will be made by the county council’s cabinet.

Cllr Ben Berry said the community had several “red lines” over any deal.

“The area manager has made it clear that we want to build a better library service for Windermere,” said Cllr Berry, the Conservative member for the town.