RESIDENTS and a former mayor have voiced concerns that their town is being stripped of crucial assets as part of a council's ongoing bid to cut costs.

Cumbria County Council has announced plans to close Dalton Library, in Nelson Street, later this year and install a smaller, self-service library in the community centre on the same road.

The closure follows a number of cost-cutting changes in Dalton, which saw the town's fire station shut in 2014.

Former mayor of Dalton, Brenda O'Connor, branded the situation as "awful" and highlighted the impact that the closure would have on the town.

She said: "I think it will be a great loss to the town. I think it is awful because what else has Dalton got? Nothing.

"We have no banks, no library; it is sad. It is has to be there and we have to think of the kids of the future - what is going to be there for them?"

In March, trustees of the Dalton Learning Centre, a community project that had been running for 12 years in the library building, took steps to wind down their services over fears of a library closure.

Former project leader, Margaret Martindale believes the social aspect of libraries may be lost with the introduction of the self-service system.

She said: "A lot of people use Dalton Library, not just to take books out, but it is also for the social aspect.

"People were able to go there to meet and discuss what is happening; that is now gone, or it will be.

"We used to have a fire station, that is now gone, along with our police station. What else will they take from us?"

Councillor Ian Stewart, the council's cabinet member for community services, said the relocation will not result in job cuts and that opening hours will be extended significantly.

He said: "The new library facility will be mainly self-service, with a member of staff present for part of one day each week.

"Library staff from nearby areas will also come to Dalton on a regular basis to run events and make sure that the books that are available are what residents want."

"It also means the library opening hours will be extended significantly (from 9am-7pm, Monday to Friday)."