DOZENS of residents turned out to campaign against the potential closure of their local library in Leigh.
The second phase of a consultation investigating the future of libraries in Southend launched in June following a national decline in library use, which has seen library attendance drop by 12 per cent in recent years.
The survey asks for local peoples’ views on a range of Southend Council proposals, including the amalgamation of Thorpedene and Friars libraries into the East Hub, based at a new site on Delaware Road.
Similarly, a West Hub may be developed off either Leigh of Kent Elms libraries, which initially would be run out of the existing site but could be moved at a later date.
This proposal could mean the closure of the historic, Grade II listed Leigh Library and has sparked outrage among concerned locals, with 3,600 people signing a petition
Supporters from Stand Up For Southend’s Libraries took to the streets of Saturday, 10 August with adults and children saying yes to local libraries and no to cuts and closures. The march came in wake of proposals saying the remaining three libraries in the Southend area could become Community Managed Libraries by 2016.
A council spokesperson previously said: “This is a scheme which has proved successful at over 400 libraries across the UK.”
Chris Gostling, 60, a retired teacher from Shoebury, told the Enquirer: “The protest was very good. I was really pleased with were cyclists before they took on the challenge. After eight months of training, the team set off on their five-day ride on Sunday, 11 August.
They have so far raised £27,600 for the hospice which cares for seriously ill children and their families from across Essex, and the amount is still increasing.
Training for the team began in December 2012, when the it and it is such an important issue. As a teacher it is all about getting the kids to still go to the library rather than them thinking it’s all digital. The next generation will still need libraries.
“With Leigh Library, I don’t know what they would do with that building, it is a real shame and you only have to go there and see the amount of people using the library and the garden.”
A formal decision regarding proposals made will be reached by September. The consultation aims to save Southend Council £378,000 over a three year period.
Matt Frain, 44, a dad-of-two from the Save Leigh Library group, said: “I use Leigh Library with my children at least once a week, and without it we will be stuffed. I’m not campaigning fo