ESSEX County Council’s proposal to axe mobile libraries has outraged residents who rely on the service.

The county council has launched an online survey asking residents to give their views on how library services to locations outside of town centres should be delivered.

Any mobile stops that are less than two miles away from a library building are being consulted on. Also, if there two or more stops that serve the same community the most accessed one will be kept.

Which means, in Basildon borough,17 out of the 26 mobile stops are under threat.

John Day, chairman of Age Matters, was outraged by the proposal. He said: “I don’t understand why this is happening. It’s not like council has lowered council tax and they need to spend less.

“They are penalising the elderly community. I don’t understand why they are targeting the most vulnerable part of the community.”

Kerry Smith, Independent councillor for Nethermayne, said: “When you look at those locations that are under threat, most of them are where elderly people live.

“The elderly use mobile libraries because it’s convenient to them. If these stops are taken away it will be hard for them to travel to another stop or library. This is going to isolate people. The whole point of these stops is for people who don’t have transport. I don’t understand why the county council is considering cutting them since they’re so well-used. This is the worse kind of penny pinching.”

A statement from Essex County Council said in the past seven years use of mobile libraries has declined by nearly 50 per cent. Sue Barker, councillor responsible for libraries, said: “We know how much people value their mobile library service. But we also know that in recent years, fewer and fewer people have been taking advantage of it. Combined with other factors, such as vehicles which are coming to the end of their working lives, we have reached a point where the right thing to do is look again at how we provide these services. This is why we are consulting with residents.”