A CAMPAIGN group has written to all the county’s MPs urging them to put pressure on County Hall to withdraw its controversial plans to close dozens of libraries across Essex.

Save Our Libraries Essex (Sole) believes Essex County Council’s proposals, which could see up to 44 libraries shut across the area, had a significant impact on local election results last week.


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In south Essex, Hadleigh library, South Benfleet library and Hockley library are at risk.

While Basildon libraries in Fryerns and Vange, and libraries in Great Wakering and Hullbridge have been bookmarked for closure.

Deputy leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, has written a letter slamming the plans.

His letter, addressed to Jeremy Wright, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, brands libraries “cultural hubs and engines of social mobility” fearing closures will cause “huge social and cultural damage”.

Sole’s Andy Abbott said: “Was the result in Essex simply down to Brexit or did local issues play a significant role?

“We are a non-party political campaign. However, it has to be pointed out the party wishing to close up to 60 per cent of our libraries - a third closing automatically and nearly another third in danger from unrealistic plans to run libraries voluntarily - had a bad night.

“Politicians across our county need to think long and hard about this act of cultural vandalism.

“If we don’t see a U-turn on library closures, what happened in our county town and beyond will be repeated at the next County Hall elections.”

So far, around 60,000 signatures have been added to more than 50 petitions opposing County Hall’s library closure plans.

In its letter Sole is calling for Essex MPs to write to David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, requesting the Future Libraries Strategy be withdrawn entirely. A carnival of libraries protest will be held in Chelmsford on June 8.