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A HISTORIC library will no longer open on Sundays in a move campaigners claim will harm its long-term future.

Hove Library in Church Road will become one of four libraries in the city not open on Sundays.

Campaigner and former councillor Christopher Hawtree said the Grade II-listed Carnegie library was again “being singled out for punishment”.

The building was the subject of a campaign last year after Brighton and Hove City Council announced plans to move the service 400 yards up the road into Hove Museum and sell off the 109-year-old building.

Three smaller branch libraries, Hangleton, Patcham and Rottingdean, will remain open and staffed on Sundays along with the main Jubilee building while six sites including Coldean, Woodingdean and Westdene will also be open for members of Libraries Extra.

Council officers say the scheme is not suitable for Hove Library’s “large and complex building” because there are too many separate rooms and floor levels to be monitored remotely.

Hove Library, which began Sunday openings last August, will once again join Whitehawk, Hollingbury and Mile Oak in keeping its doors shut to readers on Sundays.

The council is exploring ways to generate additional income from Hove Library with new public and commercial spaces to be marketed this month.

A recent public exhibition showed strong support for leasing part of the first floor out to the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) for a study space for its music students while a ground floor café and a basement conversion for a nursery or offices are also being considered.

The Sunday closure would save the council £37,000 a year although its own officers have warned it could hinder commercial plans for the building.

Mr Hawtree said: “This is, alas, consistent with Hove’s Carnegie Library being singled out for punishment.

“After the council was again thwarted in its attempt to close the Carnegie it is now trying to undermine it from within by such means as reducing the book stock.

“There is no shortage of funds for libraries ... As emerged at the standards panel of Cllr Robert Nemeth, there is £700,000 from council funds for Saltdean Library.

“Questions need to be asked about the head of libraries who, whenever Labour is in charge, regards that as a chance to close down the Carnegie.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The decision to close Hove Library on Sundays was part of the budget proposals for libraries approved in February. Footfall in Hove Library on Sundays was half that of other days of the week and the income generated was negligible.”