A DEMONSTRATION urging councillors to keep much-loved libraries open will take place outside the Town Hall this month.

Campaigners are still fighting to persuade Essex County Council to ditch plans to close a number of libraries including those in Prettygate, West Mersea, Manningtree, Brightlingsea, Stanway, Tiptree, Walton, West Clacton and Wivenhoe.

Campaign groups including Save Our Libraries Essex claim their efforts are paying off after the county council cabinet member for communities and culture, Sue Lissimore, stepped down.

She wanted to be able to spend more time helping residents fight for their libraries, particularly the one in her Prettygate ward.

Sue Lissimore’s resignation came as two Conservative borough councillors went public with criticisms of the plans, with Beverly Davies branding the library a “vital resource”, and Vic Flores claiming the “tiny” projected saving was “not worth” the cost to the community.

The Colchester branch of the Save Our Libraries Essex (SOLE) campaign welcomed the Sue Lissimore’s stance and the public comments from councillors as evidence that their campaigning efforts were beginning to bear fruit.

Colchester SOLE spokesperson, Katy Vargas, said: “These latest developments show the powerful impact the campaign is having and should give everyone hope that we can save our libraries, but it is essential we keep the pressure up and don’t take anything for granted.

“We commend councillor Lissimore for resigning in relation to this issue, and councillors Flores and Davies for speaking out publicly against the plans.

“We urge them to now explicitly back maintaining the existing library service both in Prettygate and the whole of Essex.”

However, Ms Vargas warned despite these promising developments the future of Prettygate Library is still far from secure.

She said: “There are dozens of other libraries across the county that likewise remain at risk of being lost.

“That’s why it’s essential people continue to put pressure on Essex County Council to think again by supporting the campaign, completing the consultation, and spreading the word about the march at County Hall on February 9.”

SOLE is due to host a march in protest outside County Hall in Chelmsford.

It will start in Chelmsford High Street by the Saracen’s Head at midday on February 9, and will take a near circular route through the city centre.

Colchester SOLE will also hold a demonstration prior to the January 31 Colchester Council cabinet meeting, assembling outside Colchester Town Hall at 5.30pm. The next Colchester SOLE organising meeting is at 7pm on January 23, at Colchester New Church in Maldon Road.