COLCHESTER councillors from across the political spectrum voted unanimously to support a motion asking for the continued use of libraries.

A full council meeting discussed Essex County Council’s controversial proposals to close facilities or reduce their opening hours.

Colchester Council leader Mark Cory (Lib Dem) put forward a motion which asked the county council to stop the consultation and closure plans.

Libraries in Prettygate, Stanway, Wivenhoe, Brightlingsea, Manningtree, West Mersea, Tiptree, West Clacton and Walton are among those facing closure unless volunteers come forward.

The motion said: “This council notes with sadness the public consultation launched by Essex County Council to close libraries across the county. “Whether complete closure or transition to volunteer run services, this council cannot accept the irreversible impact such plans have upon the social mobility and educational opportunities of our residents.”

It added: “We call upon the leader of the council to write directly to the county council member for customer services to stop the consultation and closure plans. Furthermore, this council calls upon Essex County Council to pursue alternative arrangements of greater service sharing with appropriate partners.”

Even Conservative councillors voted to support the motion, and there was a round of applause as town mayor Peter Chillingworth voted added his support.

When Mr Chillingworth was asked how he would be voting, he said: “What the hell, for!” before everyone in the room clapped.

Mayors do not usually vote on motions as they are considered impartial.

Darius Laws, conservative councillor who put forward a similar motion, said he was glad everyone was on the same page.

He said: "The mood in the room was that we were not happy about the consultation.

"There is definite scope to be innovative and make sure libraries become more of a community hub.

"It was lovely to hear everyone on the same hymn sheet."