It's ten years ago this week since religious leaders joined forces to oppose a library closure in Chingford.

Churches have united to criticise the loss of council services in south Chingford, saying elderly members of the community will suffer the most.

The council plans to close South Chingford Library in Hall Lane as part of a borough-wide shake-up aimed at improving the service.

But religious leaders in the area fear that vulnerable residents will find it increasingly difficult to access vital resources.

A letter to councillors signed by representatives of five nearby churches said: “Our local shops and community are already suffering from this being an area that people pass through.

“The removal of yet more services means that particularly the elderly, of which there are many in this area, and the vulnerable will find it increasingly hard to access important services.”

Speaking to the Guardian, Reverend Lesley Goldsmith, of St Edmund’s Church in Larkswood Road, said: “This is something that affects our community greatly.

“In this part of the borough we have a lot of elderly people who use the library services and by doing what it is proposing, the council is expecting them to travel further away.”

Reverend Malcolm Boulter, of South Chingford Congregational Church in Chingford Mount Road, said: “I think it is a great shame that the library is going.

“Our resources which are at the heart of our community are gradually disappearing.

“Any community that loses a resource like that is going to be poorer for it.

“It can be a struggle for a number of elderly people.

"It is okay to hop on a bus but for a lot of old people it will be a bridge too far.”

A public consultation is currently underway on a proposal to cut £1 million from the library services budget.

Harrow Green Library in Leytonstone is also earmarked for closure under the plan.

Cllr Geraldine Reardon, the cabinet member for culture, said the plans would be unlikely to change unless an alternative proposal to save the money is put forward.

She added the authority had been left with little choice but to make the cuts due to a reduction in government funding.

Cllr Reardon added: “This way we're trying to come up with a more efficient and inclusive library service, perhaps even better, with the limited resources we have.”

Tory group leader Cllr Matt Davis said: “If you look at the empirical evidence the conclusions the council has reached don't make sense at all. Labour don't get many votes in Chingford and it all strongly suggests that is a factor.”

Father Britto Belevendran, a priest at Christ the King Church in Chingford Road, Jonathan Mead, a methodist minister in the area, and Reverend Natasha Woodward, vicar of All Saints (The Old Church) in Chingford Mount, also signed the letter.