A CAMPAIGNER fighting to see an under-threat library spared the axe has successfully launched a national petition.

Steven Walker, from Walton, heads up the Hands Off Walton Library campaign group, which was launched after Essex County Council unveiled plans to close 25 libraries across the county.

Of the 49 which would remain, 19 could be staffed and run by community groups if volunteers come forward.

Essex County Council has labelled each library under one of four tiers. Tier 1 and 2 libraries will remain open and managed by the council. Libraries falling into the tier 3 category face an uncertain future but will continue if a community organisation or partner steps forward to run them.

If no suitable offer is made and accepted within six months of the council’s cabinet approval of its library strategy, a further consultation will be launched on the library’s future. Tier 4 libraries face closure.

Frinton and Walton’s two libraries fall into tier 3, leaving campaigners and councillors fearful for their future.

Mr Walker, leading a group of 35 campaigners, has secured approval to launch a petition to the Government.

The petition, which will be considered for debate in Parliament should it reach 100,000 signatures, is looking for an increase in funding for library services.

“I am thrilled to have finally secured the publication of the only national petition that stands a chance of influencing MPs and protecting all libraries from closure,” he said.

“I have written to our MP to seek his backing as well as Tendring Council.”

The petition can be found at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/261162.