Borough council leader tells of county council ‘cock-up’ over library, then his own comms team compound error

East Tilbury Library before last year's attack.

THURROCK Council is reassuring residents that there are no plans to close any of the borough’s libraries after saying around 1,600 members of a local library have been sent a letter or email asking them to take part in a consultation which potentially seeks to reduce the number of libraries in Essex.

However, the borough council didn’t initially appear sure which library they were talking about after sending out a release about East Tilbury library – but then describing it as Tilbury in the text.

The statement, headed, ‘East Tilbury residents sent ECC library consultation letter in error’ said: “An administrative error by Essex County Council has meant that the letter or email has been sent to Tilbury Library members by mistake. However, Tilbury Library is owned and managed by Thurrock Council and is not part of this consultation.”

After being contacted by the Thurrock Independent Thurrock Council’s coms team reissued the release. They said: “We’d like to apologise for this error and make it clear that the library in question is Tilbury Library.”

Thurrock Council leader Cllr Rob Gledhill said: “I would like to reassure any resident who has been unduly concerned by this cock-up that we have no plans whatsoever to close any of our libraries. Essex County Council might be consulting on proposals to potentially reduce the number of libraries they operate but we have no such plans here in Thurrock.

“A report will go before our Cabinet next week in which we outline a bright future for our libraries. We are not only planning on keeping all of our libraries open but we are looking towards an enhanced service which will make sure our library provision remain at the heart of our communities.

“We will be taking this matter up with Essex County Council to ensure that everyone who has received this communication in error is sent a follow-up letter putting any fears to rest and making sure they understand it does not reflect the situation with Thurrock’s libraries and was sent to them in error.”

At the moment East Tilbury Library is closed following damage caused in an arson attack in January 2017 when a car was driven into the building and set alight. Library staff have been offering a service at East Tilbury Village Hall on Thursdays and Fridays from 10am to 3.30pm.

Planning permission was granted for the refurbishment of East Tilbury Library in October this year and the refurbishment will bring a number of improvements including a new entrance and two new meetings rooms for community use. It is planned to re-open next spring.