HOVE Library’s purpose-built replacement at Hove Museum will be less than half the size of the current offering.

Council officers have revealed that a one storey extension at the rear of Hove Museum for the proposed move in 2017/18 will be two and half times smaller than the existing library.

Councillors said residents were unlikely to accept the move if they felt they were receiving a reduced service.

The council’s head of libraries assured councillors that the same level of service could be achieved within a smaller space.

Sally McMahon, the council’s head of libraries and information services, said that Hove Library had 612 square metres of usable space while the proposed extension to Hove Museum would be 250 square feet.

Concerns were also raised by councillors whether designs, permission and building of the extension of Hove Library could be completed by 2017/18 considering ongoing backlogs with the council’s planning department.

Ms McMahon said earlier discussions with the planning team had been favourable in terms of design and location.

Councillors at the economic development and culture committee meeting were told that moving the library to Hove Museum would put the service at the centre of the catchment area for residents who used it.

Ms McMahon said: “If we don’t consider moving Hove Library then we will have to consider closing community libraries because the numbers just don’t add up and that is something I would hate bringing to committee to consider.”

Conservative councillor Garry Peltzer Dunn said he had been using Hove Library for 65 years.

He said: “I think it’s important for residents that they don’t get a smaller service."

Ms McMahon said while the library might be moving into a smaller space, residents would receive the same level of service.

Fellow Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth said as Hove Library was paid for by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie it should be treated with an “extra level of respect” when the council came to considering selling off their assets.

He said: “Before closing this particular building I would have liked to see proposals to make it more fit for the modern world.”

Labour Councillor Alan Robins said Hove Library was a purpose built library in 1908 but so was the Royal Sussex County Hospital in 1828 and that was going to be redeveloped.

He said the Goldstone Ground was purpose built in 1901 but nobody now complained about going to the Amex.

Christopher Hawtree, Hove Library campaigner and former Green councillor, said: “Andrew Carnegie spent $55 million in Edwardian terms on libraries.

“It’s shameful that we can’t spend a few dollars on our own library.”