LEDBURY'S new library will open in the Master's House in February next year, with a significant increase in opening times, compared with the present library.

The town's existing library, in Bye Street, does not have disabled access but, once the new library opens, it could be converted into new offices for the town council, under the Ledbury Places scheme.

The Master's House on St Katherine's car park has been converted and renovated at a cost of £3m, and it will also serve as a community hub for Ledbury.

The new opening hours at the new library will be: Monday: 9.30am to 4.30pm; Tuesday, 10am to 6pm; Wednesday, closed; Thursday, 9.30am to 4.30pm; Friday, 9.30am to 4.30pm

Saturday, 9.30am to 12.30pm.

The present opening times, for the existing library are: Monday, closed; Tuesday, 9.30am to 6pm;

Wednesday, closed; Thursday, 9.30am to 2pm; Friday, 9.30am to 5pm; Saturday, 9.30am to 1pm.

This means the new library will be open 32 hours a week, compared with 24 hours a week at the present library, which is housed in the Victorian Elizabeth Barrett Browning Institute.

Herefordshire Council communications officer, Lisa Sullivan said: "The new opening hours have been created based on user trends and demands.

"This exciting move will create a range of different services available in one location in Ledbury, which greatly improves access to services in the town. The unique, innovative and flexible design of the new Master’s House not only protects the original building but enables these services, and the building as a whole, to be fully accessible to the public."

She added: "The long awaited new library will also offer a self-service function for issuing and returning library stock and will continue to provide free public access to computers."