A LEADING county councillor has resigned from her post in a bid to save her ward’s library from closure.

Essex county councillor Sue Lissimore (Con), who is also a Colchester borough councillor, has been responsible for communities and culture at County Hall for the past 18 months.

The county council is looking to close 24 of the county’s 74 libraries, including Prettygate Library in Mrs Lissimore’s ward, saying they are outdated.

Initially, Mrs Lissimore said closing the library would not necessarily be a bad thing. Instead, she said, the space could be better used as a community building.

However, following a “raid” on Prettygate Library last Saturday, when protesters took out their full allowance of books, Mrs Lissimore has had a change of heart.

She has written to the leader of the county council, David Finch, offering her resignation as a cabinet member.

Her letter said she wants to spend more time with her family and adds: “I have also realised over the Christmas period my community needs me more too.

“My area of Colchester has taken a number of hits in the last few months - the closure of the bank and now, the threat of closure of our library - and my time would be best spent in the next few months doing all I can to ensure our library stays open and create a community hub for all residents.

“Although it will not be until the summer we get the results of the consultation, it has become apparent through my own experience of the community and from residents, the library is very much wanted and very much used. I welcome the consultation so we, as residents, have the opportunity to get this across to Essex County Council.

“It was also brought home to me, in the council chamber at Colchester Council when I was advised not to take part in a debate on the library issue, that as a cabinet member it would be difficult to put forward my own views, and in turn, the views of my residents.”

Ms Lissimore said she hopes to return to the cabinet in the future.

Save Our Libraries Essex welcomed the news. 

They Tweeted Sue Lissimore saying: "Thank you very much  for making a princip led and admirable stand on your local library.

"We now hope we can work together for the good of communities across Essex, libraries are vital across the county."

They also called the potential closures of libraries "an act of cultural vandalism". 

More than 13, 000 people have completed the council’s online consultation about the countywide proposals.

To take part visit libraries.essex.gov.uk/libraries-consultation/.

Prettygate councillors have organised a meeting to discuss the potential closure on Sunday at 7pm, at the Prettygate Pub.