CAMPAIGNING seven-year-olds have taken a politician to task over her council’s plans to close their library.

Hayley Redpath and classmates at Prettygate Junior School in Colchester were so upset to hear of Essex County Council’s plan they wrote letters of objection to hand to the councillor for the area, Sue Lissimore.

Conservative Mrs Lissimore, the Cabinet member for culture and communities on the council, has stopped short of saying closing the library is the wrong thing.

Yesterday Tories voted through the controversial draft proposals at County Hall.

A 12-week public consultation, starting next Thursday, was given the green light before a final recommendation is brought before the Cabinet next summer.

Hours after the meeting, Hayley handed over a pile of pleading letters she and schoolfriends have written to the council, at Prettygate library.

Hayley’s dad Luke said: “We decided we would talk to Hayley about it because she has been going to the library since we moved here when she was three and has a younger sister, Mia, who goes frequently too.

“We explained it might be closing and she was quite sad about it.

“She talked to my wife and suggested she could talk to her friends about it and write a letter and get her friends to write letters too.”

Mr Redpath said Hayley asked who she should address them to and he suggested Mrs Lissimore, who is also a Colchester councillor for Prettygate ward, where the family lives.

“I thought she would come back with a couple of letters but she came back the next day with over a dozen.

“She has since come back with a few more in a folder and not just her class but from children in Years 5 and 6 too,” Mr Redpath added.

Hayley’s mum Julie volunteers at the toy library run from there and takes Mia to its Rhyme Time groups too,

Mr Redpath decided to invite Mrs Lissimore to meet Hayley at the library yesterday to collect the letters she has so far.

Mrs Lissimore said: “I think it is important people are involved with this consultation and it is exactly the right message I would like to get across that everyone, no matter where they live or whatever their ideas and whatever past or present involvement with the library they have had, to fill in this consultation.”

Prettygate library is one of 25 Essex libraries facing closure in a council reorganisation of the service which will save it around £2 million a year.

The council says any of the libraries could stay open if community members run them.

Other libraries across Colchester and Tendring face closure within two years unless volunteers are willing to run them, or will have reduced opening times.

Mrs Lissimore added: “As a local resident and someone who has lived here for 30 years, I have my own ideas of what I would like to see there.

“I personally would like to see a community hub there.”

Mrs Lissimore said this could include a cafe or someone had even suggested an electrical mending workshop could be held there.

She has invited Hayley to a county council meeting next month.

Prettygate Infant and Junior School has also said it is”angered” by the proposal to close the library.

Head teacher Rita Tingle said:”We as a school community are deeply saddened, not to say angered, by the proposed closure of Prettygate library.

“Our children tell us that going to the library makes them want to read more and the link between literacy skills and future success cannot be over emphasised.

“Our local library is at the heart of our community; a place to delight, inspire and enthuse a love of reading and learning.

“It should not be lost to our children now.”