Campaigners are fighting to stop a library's opening hours from being drastically reduced.

If Essex County Council plans go ahead, Waltham Abbey Library will have its opening hours cut from 48 a week to just 16.

Such a move would severely reduce the availability of libraries in the area, with Debden, Chigwell and Buckhurst Hill in line to close.

In Waltham Abbey, as with 19 other towns' libraries, volunteers would keep the public facility going.

A spokesperson from Waltham Abbey Community Campaigns, which has launched a petition calling for the council to scrap the policy, said: “This could drastically reduce accessibility for working families, put community facilities such as drop-ins under threat and throw away years of experience gained by our paid, dedicated librarians.

“We, the undersigned, call on Essex County Council to preserve Waltham Abbey Library's current hours, services and paid staffing levels.”

Essex County Council has argued that a change in the way society consumes media has led to less of a demand for libraries.

A council spokesperson said: “Libraries play a unique role in society for reading, learning, digital access and culture. But society has changed and library use has slumped in the last 10 years.

“In Essex, loans have more than halved, membership is down by a third and fewer than a fifth of Essex residents now use libraries. This means that, given the pressure on all public finances, the current service isn’t viable.”

Plans to enhance elibrary facilities, increase mobile stops services and encourage more family memberships have been proposed to by the council.

If you want to keep Waltham Abbey library open, go to