Harlow Labour’s ‘Save Our Libraries’ Campaign Keeps Harlow’s Libraries Open
Laura McAlpine, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Harlow has welcomed news that Tory-run Essex County Council has bowed to pressure and announced all libraries in Essex will remain open.
Laura said: “Since the Tories library closures consultation were announced last October, Labour has led the fight to save our libraries in Tye Green and Mark Hall from being axed.
“I’m ecstatic that the Tories have scrapped their closure plans and the 25 Essex libraries earmarked for closure will remain open. However the devil is always in the detail and we will continue to campaign until we are assured that all libraries will remain open, with full time paid staff, employed by Essex County Council.
“Today’s announcement is a victory for people-power. Harlow Labour have worked alongside campaigning group SOLE. We protested, petitioned, marched and lobbied to leave Essex County Councillors in no doubt their closure plans were wrong.
“Collectively we refused to accept the cultural vandalism Essex Tories were trying to inflict on our communities”.
Harlow Council Leader Mark Ingall added: “I am delighted that no libraries will close. I am also really proud of my Labour colleagues on the Council.
“Twice we have brought motions to the Council opposing library closure. Twice we have argued passionately in support of keeping them open. More times than I can remember, Harlow Labour Council have held public meetings, gathered signatures for petitions, protested outside the libraries and we made a pledge to voters in Harlow, in May, to continue to fight the closures of our libraries in Harlow.
“It has been a constant point of focus for Harlow Council. Only last week I went to Chelmsford to speak to Essex County Councillors to put the case for keeping the libraries open.
“Without doubt Harlow Labour have helped raise awareness of the cultural devastation that Essex County Council’s original proposals represented, galvanising residents into voicing their concerns and demanding to be heard.
“Great credit also goes to SOLE, who have coordinated action across the county and across all political parties and non-political organisations.
“Now we need to see ECC commit to a program of investment that sees professional staff retained, new books to borrow and better facilities to encourage greater footfall”.
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