COUNCILLORS have branded any reduction in library services as "unacceptable and detrimental" in a letter to Essex County Council.

Harwich Town Council has penned a letter to the county council in response to its online consultation on the future of 25 Essex libraries facing the axe.

The letter said Harwich Library is facing a reduction of services in opening hours and availability of trained librarians so Essex County Council can save money.

It said: "Harwich Town Council believes that any reduction is unacceptable and detrimental and would inevitably lead to a hit and miss service even when the library is supposed to be open as volunteer cover cannot be guaranteed at any given time."

The closest library to Harwich which is not facing closure or a reduction in services is Clacton Library.

The letter said: "No direct train service exists between Harwich and Clacton and a round trip from Harwich to Clacton by bus would take up a minimum of three hours."

It said Harwich library provides a vital lifeline for those suffering from isolation and loneliness, an issue which the Government has now recognised as being of extreme importance.

"It is the belief of Harwich Town Council that the stated aim of Essex County Council in implementing these proposals in order to save £2million out of an overall budget of almost £900million is short-sighted, counterproductive and detrimental to the wellbeing of Essex residents in general and the residents of the Harwich peninsula in particular,"It added.

"Harwich Town Council believes the needs of the local community would be far better served by Essex County Council continuing its previous policy of encouraging wider usage of public libraries by expanding available services and access to them."

An Essex Council County spokesman said: "We thank Harwich Town Council for its letter regarding the libraries consultation and we will respond to them directly.

"We would encourage residents both in Harwich and beyond to have their say on the future of their local library by taking part in the consultation.

"This can be done on our website, over the phone or by picking up a paper copy in any library."