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Essex libraries avoid closure as opening times reviewed
Library books
A reduced budget means the council is having to review all of its services

Essex County Council has promised none of its libraries will face closure as a result of its reduced budget.

However, a six week consultation will take place on the proposed reduction of opening hours at a number of libraries.

Under the proposals, 54 are set to open for a shorter time, six will see a change in their opening patterns whilst 13 will not be affected.

The reductions, which come as a result of the authority's proposed budget, will vary between one and 20 hours.

Among the libraries that will not see any change to their current hours are Kelvedon, South Woodham Ferrers, Tiptree, West Mersea, Manningtree, Stansted and Laindon.

The fleet of mobile libraries will be cut from 11 to 12, although their routes will be redirected to cover all of the existing routes.

Cllr Jeremy Lucas, cabinet member for heritage, culture and the arts, explained income from commercial schemes such as the renting out of library buildings had helped reduce the impact of forthcoming cuts.

However, he said more was needed to be done to meet their budget requirements.

"These measures are not sufficient in themselves to make all the required savings," he said.

"But the approach we have adopted is flexible enough to offer the opportunity of extending opening hours again wherever we can introduce further revenue-producing arrangements with other organisations."

A similar review stemming from the council's proposed budget for 2011/12 will also look at the provision of recycling centres in the county.




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