The most likely place to find people who will be impacted by library closures will be in libraries.

So it makes sense for anyone wanting to start a petition against Essex County Council’s proposed cuts to ask whether they can leave one at one of the under-threat facilities.

So it seems bizarre for the powers that be at County Hall to block it.

In fact, it is downright petty.

The council wants people to give their views on the proposed changes.

It says the most effective way to do this is via its official consultation process.

Fair enough.

But what is wrong with people signing a petition, expressing their views in time honoured tradition, AND taking part in the consultation?

While the council says it has no problem with people starting petitions on the matter, for them not to be allowed to be displayed in the best place for signatures leaves them open to criticism.

Putting question marks next to the future of libraries was always going to be a controversial issue for Essex County Council - everyone involved in the process would have known that.

The council should be spending the next few months trying to talk to as many residents as it can do find out what services they want and coming up with ways to make them viable.

The strength of feeling suggests communities will work with the council to keep the facilities open.

So it seems an odd move to fan the flames.