Library Cuts: BBC covers cross-party protest against Uttlesford library cuts by Essex County Council

On Saturday Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) organised a resident and cross-party protest in Saffron Walden Market Square against Essex County Council library cuts.

Barbara Light (R4U) Barbara Light (R4U)

Saffron Walden R4U councillor, Dr Barbara Light, who organised the protest, said “Thank you to everyone who came together for our community in freezing temperatures to stand up for our libraries! Local residents of all ages and from the different political parties sent a clear message to Essex County Council to keep their hands off our libraries.”

“This isn’t just about books – our libraries provide a range of community services and are the heart of our towns and villages. They provide vital services, where young children go to play and discover the wonders of knowledge. Where older, sometimes lonely, people go to read newspapers, have a chat, or do a jigsaw or use a computer.”

[youtube https://youtu.be/1r-zi6UIUeE&autoplay=1&rel=0]

BBC News Look East covered the protest in the Saffron Walden Market Square.

Cllr Light added “Residents have had enough of endless and mean spirited cuts to our community services. We are the 4th fastest growing district in the UK and we need investment in our libraries – not divestment. Uttlesford is already not getting its fair share of library budget and they now want to close half our libraries and reduce services in the rest.”

“Closing Thaxted and Stansted libraries would only save a paltry £13,000 so it’s clearly not about the money. The current ‘consultation’ on libraries is nothing of the sort. It’s a sham and a lie. Decisions have already been taken to decimate our local libraries as Conservative Essex Councillors John Moran and Sue Barker publicly let slip recently.”

“I have now written twice to the Secretary of State urging a call-in of the ECC consultation and decision as it is based on deeply flawed research and is possibly unlawful. If the Conservatives do close Thaxted and Stansted libraries, Residents for Uttlesford has vowed to find a way to reopen them. We cannot allow our libraries to be destroyed!”

The ECC public consultation on the library closings runs until to 21 February 2019. More information can be found online at https://libraries.essex.gov.uk/libraries-consultation.

About Residents for Uttlesford

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) is the local independent party of north-west Essex towns and villages. Formed in 2014 by a number of residents’ groups, the party believes that on local issues residents should decide, not Westminster parties.

R4U leads Uttlesford District Council (UDC). It is the fastest growing local political movement in its district. In its first election in 2015 it became the second party at UDC. In 2017 it solidified its position with a further by-election gain with 60% of the vote. In the May 2019 Local Elections R4U gained majority control of UDC winning two-thirds of the seats. The result delivered the biggest loss of seats by any UK Conservative controlled council in the UK.

R4U’s success has been based on the desire to give local people a voice and implement long range strategic and sustainable plans for their area.

R4U also leads Saffron Walden Town Council, where under its stewardship the council has rebuilt finances, invested in community assets, and won multiple awards, including the best run council in Essex. It is a minority party on Great Dunmow Town Council.

Residents for Uttlesford can be found on the web at www.residents4u.org.

One thought on “Library Cuts: BBC covers cross-party protest against Uttlesford library cuts by Essex County Council

  1. Jackie Damary-Homan

    The mayor stated on Saturday that there is a UK law that states county councils MUST provide a library within a radius of peoples homes. What is this radius? Can this argument of statutory rights be followed up and be the base of a legal case to prevent Library closures in Essex?
    I agree with Cllr Light the whole proposals are mean spirited. What i are the true reasons behind the closures ECC wants as it’s clearly NOT financial costs?

    So pleased to see cross party campaigning to halt this policy to close the wonderful resources of our libraries.
    If the consultation was legitimate it would have the obvious questions; Do you use the library? What do you visit the library for? So is the consultation even valid? If the decision to close has already been made before the consultation ends then local democracy is dead.
    Everyone needs to write to their ECC councillor to object and to Mr Finch the leader as well as writing comments and completing this biased “consultation”.

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