THE city’s only independent bookshop is half way to its £360,000 fundraising push to buy a new premises.

October Books, which has been selling books to locals for more than 40 years, is aiming to buy the old Natwest building on Portswood Road.

The co-operative bookshop has until June 30 to reach its target, and so far has raised more than £180,000 in its bid to buy the building.

This is broken down into £8,400 worth of donations, as well as £173,000 in loanstock.

As previously reported, it ran a crowdfunding campaign last year to help pay their rent - which was due to go up in July 2018 to £30,000.

But now the success of that campaign means they have been able to put in a successful bid to buy the building, and they could share it with one of the city’s leading homelessness charities.

October Books collective member Clare Diaper said: “We’ve been blown away by how much money has already been committed by our local community in support of this project.

“The loanstock will go towards the purchase of the building and renovations and the donations towards some of the moving expenses.

“This demonstrates how much support there is for independent bookshops and a real desire for community spaces in our city.”

October Books is offering a 1.5 per cent annual interest payment on investment in loanstock, which is better than some bank savings accounts.

Other plans for the premises include selling the upper floor to the Society of St James and converting the alley behind the bank into a community garden.

It could also create a new space for community groups, social enterprises and health and wellbeing services.

One of the shop’s investors, who asked not to be named, said: “I have been involved in ethical investing for about 15 years but up to now it’s always been via third parties.

“Here, at last is an opportunity to put my money where I think it will do most good - into a local, community-based co-operative with a proven track record.

“This time it’s a direct investment with no-one else taking a cut of the profits.”