CAMPAIGNERS who fought to save a library in Walton have seen their petition to Parliament closed due to the General Election.

The Hands Off Walton Library campaign group was launched after Essex County Council unveiled controversial plans last year to close 25 libraries across the county, while 19 could have been staffed by community groups.

But following backlash, the county council has promised it will not close any libraries in the next five years.

Campaigners still gear Walton's library, in High Street, could lose its professional librarians if a community group or volunteers want to run it.

Town councillors said the offer of £18,000 across three years was "ridiculous" .

The campaign group has collected a new petition with 55 signatures in support of the town's librarians.

Steven Walker, who heads up Hands Off Walton Library, said a Parliamentary Petition - which calls for the Government to ringfence funding for all library services in order to protect them from closure by local authorities in future - has now shut due to the General Election.

He received notice from the Parliamentary authorities that any current petition on the website has to be cancelled when an election is called.

Mr Walker said: “I am disappointed but can understand why the national petition has to be taken down, however local support for Walton Library and others under threat of closure across Essex is still very strong.

"People in Walton know that our library is a community hub, a wonderful resource where lots of activities takes place such as nursery rhyme groups, pensioners clubs, Jobfinder support, Teenage Mental Health support, Book Club, local councillor surgery, coffee mornings, domestic violence advice, PCSO visits, Citizens Advice information, internet access, photocopying and information about local groups.

"As winter approaches we know that some pensioners use the library to keep warm as they cannot afford to eat and heat, they have to choose one or the other.

"The library staff are skilled, kind and friendly people who provide informal support and comfort to lonely elderly people.”