Save our Libraries

January 21, 2019 11:20 PM
By Melvin Caton

Local people are firmly against the County Council's plan to close half the Libraries in Essex. On Saturday local Lib Dems collected nearly 400 signatures for their petition against the cuts.

Stansted Community launches their campaign to save their LibraryEssex County Council was closely involved in planning the new community hub and library building in Stansted but pulled out with no warning just weeks before the lease was due to be signed. "They say the Library is underused and Stansted is not a 'deprived area' - but this was based on figures when there was a very restricted service because of the rebuilding", said Maureen Caton, Chair of Stansted Parish Council. "We have a high percentage of children on free school meals, one of the main indicators of hardship. Essex must remain involved in running the Stansted Library, (photo left shows the Stansted community lauching their Save Stansted Library campaign), so that we can continue to serve our community."

Thaxted is united against plans to close its Library, which already operates as a model rural community hub. "It's a completely false economy" said Lib Dem Cllr. Martin Foley. "Essex will save peanuts by shutting Thaxted Library down and depriving us of all the services and activities based there". Cllr. Foley and Thaxted Parish Council are united in calling for Essex County Council to think again. Cllr. Foley also said "I and others are prepared to go onthe barricades to save Thaxted Library"

"Uttlesford is seeing some of the biggest cuts of anywhere in the county," said Cllr. Mike Hibbs. "Even Saffron Walden Library is under threat because Essex wants to move right away from owning or renting Library premises in the next 5 years."

You can sign petitions against the proposed cuts and closures at www.essexlibdems.org.uk/libraryThere are Change.org petitions at Save Stansted Library and Save Thaxted Library, and another county-wide petition at Save Our Libraries (Essex).

The official consultation is at libraries.essex.gov.uk/libraries-consultation - but you may find it difficult to complete. It seems heavily weighted towards what the County Council would like to hear, but there is a comments box at the end where you can express your opinion, so persevere. This consultation will close on 20th February.