BASILDON'S Labour group has announced a campaign to save the areas libraries.

Essex County Council announced plans to close Fryerns and Vange libraries in Basildon, as well as Great Wakering and Hullbridge libraries in the Rochford District, unless a community group takes them over entirely.

Basildon’s Labour party has already announced a campaign to save them and a number of others which are at risk.

Essex County Council has launched a review of the service with four categories.

Those in tier one will be run by the council, tier two will be run by the council but will need support from volunteers.

Tier three libraries will need to be run by community groups but Essex County Council could help.

Tier four will need to be completely run by communities and only if they come up with a viable takeover.

South Essex has four in tier four.

The council admitted traditional library use had “collapsed” in the past decade.

The council says its vision at the remaining libraries –which face reduced opening hours – is for an online service with 25 earmarked for closure.

Basildon Labour leader, Gavin Callaghan, said: “It is a hell of a Christmas present for not only two of the poorest wards in Basildon, but two of the poorest wards in Essex.

“These are vital services for children, for jobseekers, for elderly people.

“And this is after we were promised by the Conservative Government that austerity was over, that there would be no more cuts, it is a real kick in the teeth.

“The Fryerns library is at the heart of that ward, and is well used and relied on, while the Vange library is used by councillors for surgeries and is always busy.”

Basildon, Billericay and Wickford libraries have been rated as tier one, while Laindon and Pitsea are ranked as tier two.

In Castle Point, Canvey library is rated as tier one, while Great Tarpots, Hadleigh and South Benfleet are all rated as tier three.

This puts all of these also at risk.

In the Rochford District, Rayleigh library is rated as tier one, while Rochford is at tier two, and Hockley is rated as tier three, meaning its future is uncertain.