Essex libraries risk closure amid future ‘library service strategy’

Proposals to close libraries across our region in a bid to save £2 million are being considered by bosses at Essex County Council (ECC).

The recently published draft ‘Essex Future Library Service Strategy’ is to be considered by ECC cabinet members later this month, and if passed, a consultation will run from November 29th until February 2019.

A further report would then be considered later in the summer of 2019 following consideration from public comments to approve any final strategy.

The draft strategy report details nineteen of the seventy-five library services run by the County Council are at risk of potential closure, including library services in Stanway, Tiptree, West Mersea and Wivenhoe, unless community groups can be found to run them with help from ECC.

Prettygate Library in Colchester is being considered by ECC as “not required”, listing the library in a ‘Tier 4’ group proposed for closure, due to what has been described as “low demand”.

However, it may be possible for a community library to be run in this area if ECC receive a suitable application from a community partner or organisation.

Colchester library has been classed as a ‘Tier 1’ library and the proposals outlined in the draft strategy say a library service in Colchester is to be provided and managed by ECC as part of a “statutory provision”.

The decision to decide to agree on the draft Essex Future Library Service Strategy for a 12 week consultation period, will be heard at County Hall in Chelmsford on November 22nd by cabinet members.

Earlier this year, ECC undertook a public engagement exercise on what the public wanted to see from their services.

We have contacted ECC for comment.