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The Future of Essex libraries: Essex County Council must be held to account say Harlow Alliance Party

Politics / Tue 13th Apr 2021 at 11:22am

IT comes as no surprise that a public meeting to discuss the future of the library service in Essex is being held using zoom, just as the country is to come out of lockdown, continuing Essex County Council’s trend to consult only those residents who have access to the internet and zoom and have become aware that it is taking place. ECC must be held to account, they must make greater efforts to involve residents before making important decisions such as this.

Our residents survey in early 2020 showed overwhelming public support for keepinglibraries open and run in the way they have always been, even by those who do not use a library. Since our inception in early 2018 we have said that library buildings across the county should become community hubs, from where if possible, other public services should be provided. We are aware that this has happened in other towns and we have urged Harlow Council to do the same. This would mean that the cost of maintaining the building and revenue costs such as heating and lighting could be shared as well as some of the staff salaries.

A further benefit to this proposal would be to increase footfall to the Town’s neighbourhood shopping centres, badly needed after the downturn in retail sales in the last year.

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