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Hullbridge library latest facility to withdraw voluntary-run offer to Essex County Council

Hullbridge library latest facility to withdraw voluntary-run offer to Essex County Council

Another blow has hit Essex County Council over its plans to scrap library service to voluntary groups across the county.

Friends of Hullbridge Library (FOHL) has become the latest community group to withdraw their offer to take over their facility, as campaigners announce more plans for the 'Save our libraries - no closure by stealth' day.

The event is to take place in several locations across Essex on Saturday, September 28.

Tony Pencock, secretary of FOHL who has written to Essex County Council, said: "Having discussed this in committee, and with our members, I reconfirmed that we had absolutely no desire, or intention, of supporting the development of a community library in Hullbridge."

"We believe that the only effective way to provide local library provision is via the Essex Library Service with properly trained staff and appropriate resources in the existing Library, which should be upgraded as a Community Investment rather than demolished and sold off.”

Campaign groups across the county will be using the day of action to call on groups that have submitted takeover bids.

Britain's smallest town, Manningtree, townspeople will come together in South Street for a 'love your library' street party between 11am and 1pm.

In Shenfield a 'library fair' will be held outside the library between 10am and noon.

While in Wivenhoe an 'Earth day', with the opportunity to have a selfie taken with a David Attenborough cut out, will take place at the library doors between 10am and 1pm to 4pm.

Further events, yet to be finalised, will be taking place in Castle Point, Harlow, and Tendring.

"Councillor Sue Barker's [cabinet member leading on libraries] reaction to our day of action showed both an arrogance and contempt for local communities, when she said people should instead be looking to run so-called community libraries", said a SOLE spokesperson.

"What happened to a previous commitment that no community would be forced to run a library when they do not want to?"

"The latest withdrawal of a takeover bid should send a clear message to Essex County Council.
“Now the council has put its gun away for at least five years, Essex County Council must stop trying to abandon its statutory duty.

“It is the council's job to run a professional library service from its library buildings. It should stop expecting voluntary groups to do their job for them.”

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