William Eichler 10 July 2019

Council drops plans to close ‘third of libraries’ after outcry

Essex County Council has done a U-turn on its plan to close nearly a third of its libraries after a consultation received thousands of responses opposing it.

The county council had planned to close 25 of its 74 libraries as part of its cost-cutting measures.

However, council leader David Finch told a Full Council meeting yesterday that no library will be closed and an extra £3m will be invested over the next five years.

A consultation on the closure plans, which took place between November 2018 and January 2019, received more than 21,000 responses, over 1000 letters and over 50 petitions.

The council said that the respondents made it clear that they wanted the libraries to remain open.

‘Our future libraries strategy has changed drastically due to what the people of Essex told us,’ said Cllr Susan Barker, cabinet member for customer, communities, culture and corporate.

‘I am delighted that the consultation ignited such passion for keeping the service alive.

‘We assured everyone that their feedback would be taken into account, and it has – all our libraries now have a future.’

The council is now developing an investment plan and looking for partners to set up community-run libraries.

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