PLANS by Dorset County Council to close 20 libraries and to withdraw funding for lollipop patrols will go out to further consultation.

Campaigners won the concession after impassioned speeches to a meeting of all councillors in the public session of an all-day meeting held yesterday.

Councillors were told that children would be killed or seriously injured without lollipop crossings, and heard proposals to close libraries in lieu of community takeover described as “thoroughly unsatisfactory”.

But plans to save £800,000 from the library service and £200,000 by withdrawing the salaries of lollipop staff were voted through later in the same meeting.

Tim Lee, acting chairman of library friends group, Ad Lib, welcomed a pledge for detailed consideration of his group’s proposals to save £800,000 without the threat of library closures.

He told the Echo: “I am pleased by the overwhelming support shown to our proposals and by the fact that they will now be carefully considered. It’s too soon for celebration, but it’s a big step forward.”

He had proposed halving the book budget to £400,000 for four years, reducing opening hours by 10 per cent except at libraries that open for less than 10 hours, and cutting staff costs at library service HQ by 10 per cent.

Earlier, the cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Hilary Cox, dismissed AdLib’s proposals as more “salami slicing” of a “lean” service that had already been restructured.

Campaigners for school crossing patrols left the meeting dissatisfied after councillors voted to consult with schools, and parish councils to fund crossing guard salaries.

Ferndown mums Liz Howard and Liz Norman presented a petition of 1,800 signatures in support of the crossing on Church Road, which they said served three schools and 75 per cent of Ferndown’s young population.

Speaking after the meeting, Liz Norman told the Echo: “They are still trying to push responsibility on to the schools. But a community is more than just the school. It’s the council and the residents.”

Mrs Howard had earlier told councillors: “We understand that these are difficult times and cuts have to be made, but children will be killed or seriously injured without school crossing patrols to see them safely across the roads near their schools.”

Cllr Peter Finney, cabinet member for transport, said the council wanted to provide the service but needed help funding it.

He pledged the council’s commitment to the continued training, equipping, and insurance of volunteers.