NEW figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request show just £13,000 will be saved per year if a village library is shut down.

It has left residents questioning the reason for the potential closure of libraries across the county.

Submitted by Residents for Uttlesford, the FoI has revealed that running Kelvedon Library costs the county council £19,480 per year while the Silver End facility sets it back £13,387.

Those against the closures argue it is a small part of County Hall’s overall budget, leading to questions about the motivation for axing them.

James Abbott (Green), councillor for Silver End, said: “It makes no sense – the county council needs to try and make sense of its priorities.

“Just today I was at a scrutiny meeting at County Hall where we were speaking about the £100million which the council is holding in waste reserves – it doesn’t even know what it’s going to do with it.

“I know £13,000 is a lot of money but it raises questions when you look at the bigger picture and see this is a body which has a net revenue of more than £1billion each year.

“Yes, the footfall at Silver End Library is falling.

“It’s falling everywhere, but this is still a facility which so many people rely on whether that be for education or for internet access.

“We handed in the petition with more than 650 signatures on it at County Hall and next month we’re going to be going out and getting people to take part in the consultation.”

A spokesman for Essex County Council said: “There are 31 per cent fewer people using Essex libraries now than there were in 2008 – over 100,000 less users – and loans of books and other items are down by 52 per cent.

“Essex has the second-highest number of libraries in the UK and is in the top-five counties nationally for spending on libraries, but with increasing costs and declining usage, especially at some smaller libraries, the service is no longer viable in its current form.

“We therefore need to review these services and ensure we are spending taxpayers’ money responsibly.

“The consultation is the opportunity to feedback on our plans and make sure that views are heard and considered. We would encourage residents to have their say and take part.”