A 'cost-cutting exercise' to move a library to a community hall has been axed following opposition from residents. 

Redbridge council's culture and leisure service provider, Vision, announced plans earlier this year to close the purpose-built facility in Snakes Lane West, Woodford Green, and move services to Sir James Hawkey Hall in Broomhill Road.

The proposed shake-up due to budget constraints was strongly opposed by library users and residents.

Anne Crook organised a petition against the plans, which attracted 1,000 signatures. 

Deputy leader and cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Wes Streeting, has confirmed Vision's plans have now been withdrawn. 

He said: "We've put the plans on hold as it was very clear to me from campaigners and residents that a wider re-think is needed. 

"I was concerned about the proposals and I'm not convinced relocating to Sir James Hawkey Hall was the right decision or in the long-term interest for the community. 

"Residents have been listened to and I would like to reassure them the library will not be moving in the foreseeable future."  

The controversial decision was due to be announced in April but was postponed until after the May elections, which saw Labour seize power from the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition. 

Ms Crook, 59, of Monkhams Avenue in Woodford Green, described the announcement as a "relief".

She said she feared a move would isolate vulnerable people and eventually lead to its permanent closure. 

"Residents are relieved for now as it looked as though the move would go through," she added.

"Its current location in the centre of Woodford Green was close to the shops and station and easily accessible. 

"Older residents told me if it moved to the top of the hill, they wouldn't visit plus there would have been only a quarter of books on offer for three days a week and people would think it is simply not worth the visit. 

"Its usage as a library at Sir James Hawkey Hall would diminish and would end up closing."   

Ms Crook believes the proposal was driven by a desire to sell the current site. 

Councillor Streeting said a new strategy was being drawn up for the borough's culture and leisure facilities and further details will be announced in September.