Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has welcomed the news from Essex County Council that no libraries will close in the next five years.

Announced by Cllr David Finch on 9th July, this decision follows a public consultation on the future of library services, which received over 21,000 responses, over 1000 letters, and over 50 petitions. Following this consultation, Essex County Council will also update their libraries strategy, and this will be presented for a decision on 23rd July. The new strategy will focus on two key elements: developing an investment plan to improve libraries; and working with and supporting community groups or other partners to set up community run libraries, with the aim of ensuring a library service is retained in every current location.

More detail will be available on 15 July at It will be discussed by Place Services and Economic Growth Policy Scrutiny Committee on 18 July and decided on by Cabinet on 23 July.

Giles said:

“Having written to Essex County Council to make clear my opposition to the proposal to close libraries in the Clacton constituency, I am pleased that the Council has come to this decision. Save Our Libraries Essex have run an effective campaign and I congratulate them on that.

“I am also delighted that the new strategy will see investment in our libraries and having met with local councillors during this campaign I know that such investment is needed. Finally, I am excited about the increasing role of community groups and partners in running these facilities and if you want to set up a community library, make sure you get in touch.”