DORSET County Council will have to return £59,000 from a local woman’s bequest if it decides to close West Moors library this week.

Resident Daphne Harrison left the village £137,000 in 1994. Nine years ago, £99,000 of this was passed to the library, and the parish council used some of it to build a computer suite.

The parish also entered into a 15-year agreement with county on the basis that if they closed the library within five years, they would have to hand all the money back. After that date, the repayment falls by 10 per cent a year.

The two councils are in discussion over whether the pact started in 2002 or 2003. More than 1,500 West Moors residents have already signed a petition to save the library.

Cllr Jean Ware is part of a new working party of councillors and members of the public who are considering what to do if county funding is withdrawn.

Cllr Ware said: “Our library is very important to people from the cradle to the grave, including teenagers doing research and the older generation who use it for company.

“The Daphne Harrison Fund built the computer suite, which is free for everybody to use.

“Not everybody has a computer at home.”

The nearest library is in Ferndown.

The county council says no decisions have been made about the closures.

It also says that other issues including the bequest, will be considered in due course.

The working party is holding a public meeting at the memorial hall on Saturday, February 26, at 2pm.