CAMPAIGNERS turned out in force in an united effort to save their library from being axed.

About 100 residents attended a meeting to discuss the Essex Library Strategy Consultation - and more specifically the future of Manningtree Library.

More than 12,000 people have already taken part in Essex County Council’s online consultation on multiple libraries, including Manningtree Library, facing closure.

The public meeting was held by Manningtree Town Council, Mistley Parish Council and Lawford Parish Council on Friday night.

Ruth Stocks, Manningtree mayor, said residents wanted to get Essex County Council to place Manningtree Library under a tier two ranking.

The library is currently under tier three which means it will need to be run primarily by volunteers and other organisations to keep it open.

If the library was under tier two then the county council would manage it with a combination of employees and volunteers.

Mrs Stocks said: “We are trying to get the library to tier two or there will have to be a plan b about who will fund it.”

Marting Rayner, Mistley Parish Council chairman, said: “People expressed a strong concern over the library closing and what a loss to the community it will be.

“Essex County Council did not seem to know who uses the library, but there were groups at the meeting saying they use it as a base.

“We want it to be tier two and the community will get behind that.

“So, unless we keep protesting the county council will close it.”

Debbie Burrows, of Oxford Road, Manningtree, said: “Residents stated at the meeting that the consultation appears skewed to meet the council’s objective of closure.

“No consideration has been given to the other functions the library serves other than offering books."

She said the library is also used for community groups and internet access.

Carlo Guglielmi, Essex County councillor, said: "The general feeling from the meeting is people should write to the council or protest to take it from tier three to tier two.

"At the same time, we should be working towards a plan b, in case plan a isn't successful."

Residents have until February 20 to complete the consultation.

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