TENDRING Council’s opposition groups have called for an extraordinary meeting to denounce plans by County Hall to axe libraries in the district.

District councillors have been left outraged at Essex County Council’s plans to close libraries across the county.

Holland Library, in Frinton Road, has been earmarked for closure, while bosses hope Brightlingsea, Frinton, Walton and West Clacton libraries will be run by community groups.

The Conservative-run county council claims traditional library use has “collapsed” in the last ten years.

A consultation on the plans closed in February and the final proposals are due to be published later this summer.

Tendring Council’s opposition – made up from Tendring First, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and independents – has called for an extraordinary meeting to discuss a motion concerning the future of libraries in the district.

The motion calls on the cabinet of Essex County Council to rule out the closures or any reduction in opening hours of public libraries in Tendring and to instead concentrate on making better use of them as community hubs and to maximise the use of the buildings to generate income for the library service.

Frinton councillor Terry Allen, leader of Tendring First, said: “Essex County Council is saying they’ll support local groups if they want to run the libraries, but then you’re forced to rely on volunteers.

“Our libraries are integral to the community in both Frinton and Walton.

“They are used widely for all sorts of things, even if just for people to turn up and see friends there – the information people can get at a library is also invaluable to old and young people alike.

“They’re trying to close local services one-by-one, but our libraries are the last straw.

“They are fundamental to life in towns and villages all over the county.”

Mr Allen said he and his colleagues were forced to call for an extraordinary meeting after the district council postponed its planned July meeting due to a lack of business on the agenda.

He added: “If we don’t speak up before they make a decision on the library plans, County Hall will think silence means consent – well in this case it doesn’t.”

Neil Stock, leader of the district council, said the move was “political point scoring”.

“I’m concerned as much as anyone over the potential loss of libraries,” he said.

“But for this to suddenly emerge as an emergency issues is difficult to accept when we have known about the issue for months.

“Just like the part-night street lighting plan, this is another issue that is not a Tendring Council responsibility, but a county council one.

“I absolutely support the principle of the motion, but I don’t know if we have to have an extraordinary meeting over it.

“It can cost a lot of money to hold an extraordinary meeting and members may have already made plans or booked a holiday.”