Several councillors have voiced their opinions following yesterday’s news no Essex libraries will be closing.

The news was announced by Essex County Council Leader, David Finch, following numerous protests and petitions held by residents throughout the year.

Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Debden, and North Weald libraries were all under threat of closing down.

Last year 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.

Here is what some of Epping Forest councillors had to say:

Green Group Leader of Epping Forest District Council, Cllr Steven Neville, cautiously welcomed the news that Library's in Epping Forest are to stay open.

He said: "I welcome the U-turn on closing the libraries in Epping Forest. Greens have worked with councillors of all political persuasions on this and with Save Our Libraries Essex, who have successfully applied a lot of pressure on Essex.

“In particular I welcome the saving of Buckhurst Hill Library but the devil is in the detail. It sounds as if the Parish are taking it over and this has not been proposed formally yet at Parish although much discussion has been had about it. For example will the library maintain properly trained Librarians?

“I will continue to work hard on keeping this vital service open."

Town and District Councillor for Loughton Roding Ward, Stephen Murray, also voiced

As with all things the devil is in the detail. What sort of a library service is this going to be?

“A service run by properly trained library staff? or more by volunteers?

“We will know on Monday more about the plans. Also this is a delay not a total victory. Essex have delayed their plans by 5 years.”

Mr Finch also issued a statement yesterday to Essex residents, saying: “As Leader, I am incredibly proud that Essex is in the top 10 of all councils when it comes to effectiveness and efficiency.

“Now, we turn our attention to Libraries. We have concluded a consultation to find out what people thought about their local library service. A service which faces annual and rapid decline.

“I am very pleased to say that the people of Essex have responded well, and this consultation has absolutely reinvigorated their desire and love of our libraries. This is superb and just what we were

looking for.”

He added: “However, I was disappointed with the political rhetoric by Opposition Parties who offered no vision, no thought of the future.

“Nothing to enhance the life our residents, their children and their grandchildren. Just being against something is not good politics and certainly not good for the future of Essex.

“All you offered were slogans – not strategy.

“By contrast, the people of Essex who are renowned throughout the country for their entrepreneurship and taking on a challenge have reacted far better.

“As a result, we have a number of communities that have come forward and want to run their own local library service and to run the buildings as community hubs.”

Essex County Council will publish its final libraries strategy for approval at Cabinet on Tuesday, July 23.