DISCUSSIONS are being held to decide whether a judicial review could take place over plans to close libraries.

Wivenhoe, Shrub End and Prettygate councillors in Colchester have been leading opposition against Essex County Council’s proposals to close a number of libraries across the county.

Their latest move has been organising a meeting with a London-based lawyer to see what the options are in calling for a judicial review.

A judicial review can be called for regarding any local Government decision and anyone can call for one to take place.

Colchester councillor David King (Lib Dem) said: “These proposed closures need to be stopped now.

“The proposals take no real account of the impacts on communities and are not even handed or, in our view, justified.

“We have serious doubts about the consultation process and whether it’s fully accessible or that it will yet prove to be genuine and meaningful.

“Essex County Council should withdraw the proposal and genuinely consult without preconditions.

“Community protests are expected to continue with our support whilst campaigners look at their next steps.

“Councils can be challenged in the courts on their proposals or their process and we are looking now with leading lawyers at the options and the prospects of a successful challenge.”

It is not just in Colchester where protests are taking place. Harwich Town Council has penned a letter to the county council in response to its online consultation on the future of the 24 Essex libraries facing the axe.

The letter said Harwich Library is facing a reduction of services in opening hours and availability of trained librarians.

It said: “Harwich Town Council believes any reduction is unacceptable and detrimental and would inevitably lead to a hit and miss service even when the library is supposed to be open as volunteer cover cannot be guaranteed.”

An Essex Council County spokesman said: “We thank Harwich Town Council for its letter regarding the libraries consultation and we will respond to them directly. “We would encourage residents both in Harwich and beyond to have their say on the future of their library by taking part in the consultation.

“This can be done on our website, over the phone or by picking up a paper copy in any library.”

The consultation will run until February 20. Complete it at libraries.essex.gov.uk/libraries-consultation/ or call 0345 603 7639.