Victory for campaigners as Barking and Dagenham’s libraries remain open

CONTROVERSIAL plans to close half of the borough’s libraries have been abandoned after residents launched a petition and councillors’ voiced their concerns.

The council is now encouraging residents and library users to volunteer in one of its libraries to make sure savings can be made without any closures taking place. This will be part of a new review into how savings can be made in the face of central government funding cuts.

Marks Gate resident and library user Perry Blott said: “That’s absolutely fantastic news. Libraries are a wonderful asset to the local community. It’s a wonderful resource. I know cuts have got to be made but libraries mean so much to so many people.”

When the council proposed to close five of its 10 libraries last November, in a drive to save �2.7million as part of a �48million savings package over the next three years, there was a public outcry.

More than 200 people signed up to the online petition Save Robert Jeyes Library – one of the five facilities that had been considered for closure. Councillors have now “ruled out” any closures.