From Councillor Tony Edwards
I attended the Extraordinary Meeting of Essex County Council.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Essex Library Strategy which includes plans to close three of Harlow’s Libraries – Staple Tye, Tye Green and Mark Hall.
Attending on behalf of the people of Harlow were three out of four Conservative Essex County Councillors, Mike Garnett, Clive Souter and Eddie Johnson.
These County Councillors also happen to be Harlow District Councillors, who on the 18th of December passed a unanimous vote at a Harlow Council meeting which expressed concern at the proposed closure of the Libraries and urged the County Council to keep them open.
On 7th of January Cllrs Mark Ingall (Labour Leader of Harlow Council} and Andrew Johnson (Conservative Opposition Leader) wrote to Cllr Susan Barker (Essex County Council Cabinet Member responsible for the Library Strategy) – explaining the Council’s concerns. They stated that that “The threat to close three Libraries in Harlow runs completely against the needs of the Town”, and requested a meeting so that they “could look to find a solution which would ensure the long term future of Harlow’s Libraries”. To date no reply has been received.
So my question is why – when there was an opportunity to advocate on behalf of the residents of Harlow did the town’s Conservative County Councillors remain silent?
Other County Councillors spoke about their Libraries in Colchester, Basildon, Saffron Walden, Chelmsford etc., in all over 30 County Councillors spoke – but there was no Harlow voice, it was as if Harlow didn’t exist!
So what is the position of Harlow’s Conservative County Councillors on this matter and how will they stand up for the Town and oppose these proposed closures? The fight to save the libraries goes on and the people of Harlow have a right to know.
Cllr Tony Edwards
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