CAMPAIGNERS who fought to spare their libraries from the axe have welcomed the news none will close, but say they won’t be cracking open the bubbly yet.

Protests, petitions and book raids were carried out by residents across the county in a bid to prevent the closures.

The campaign also secured the backing of a host of famous names including David Walliams, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Billy Bragg, Michael Rosen and David Baddiel.

Essex County Council’s proposal was to shut a third of its libraries, and hoped volunteers would run others, in a bid to save £2 million.

Holly Tuner, who launched the Save Manningtree Library protest group, said she welcomes the news of no closures, but is awaiting how the council’s decision will affect the running of Manningtree Library.

She said: “I am concerned that a strong focus on expression of interest for community-run libraries remains.

“It’s too early to tell what will happen with Manningtree Library.

“I won’t be popping the champagne at this stage.

“But either way, this is a U-turn made by Essex County Council.

“At least there is some acknowledgement that their plans for library services were abysmal and not what communities want.”

She added: “At the start of the campaign I was told waving placards would do nothing – well look how far we have come.

“We were told we had to find a plan b – but we didn’t.”

Essex County Council also proposed a reduction in services at Harwich Library in November 2018.

So Harwich Labour Party members took to the streets of Dovercourt to encourage residents to oppose to any reduction in library services at Harwich Library earlier this year.

Their aim was to prevent Harwich Library from having its opening hours or available services reduced.

It came following Essex County Council’s proposals to make cuts to local library services across the county.

Ivan Henderson, Harwich councillor, said: “At least Essex County Council has listened to us and all the people who answered the public consultation, the people who marched outside the libraries and the young people of all ages who have been protesting over the possibility of their libraries closing.”

But the future remains unclear for the libraries in Harwich and Manningtree.

A statement from Tendring county councillors Carlo Guglielmi, Andy Erskine, Alan Goggin and Mark Platt said: “We did promise we would do all we could to keep the library service going, and we have delivered.

“Let’s not lose sight however that the county council has still very much an obligation to achieve savings in order to deliver a balanced budget and we will continue to work with officers to meet that obligation.

“Meanwhile we will continue to work with our communities to identify some more innovative ways to make our libraries sustainable and fit for the future.”

Mr Guglielmi said he hopes the emergency meeting called by the opposition at Tendring Council will now be called off.