Demonstration to be held in fight to save Ore library

Campaigners fighting to save Ore library from closure
Campaigners fighting to save Ore library from closure

Campaigners will be protesting against the threatened closure of Ore library on Saturday (October 28).

Hastings Ore WI is organising the demonstration and will be meeting at the community centre in Old London Road at 10.30am before walking to the library.

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) is proposing to close seven of the current 24 library buildings, including Ore, and no longer providing a mobile library service.

The proposals would save the authority £653,000 and a 12-week consultation into the plans began on September 21.

Stephanie Gaunt, president of Hastings Ore WI, said: “Although a number of libraries across East Sussex are under threat of closure, Ore faces particular challenges. Two of the estates are among the most deprived in the whole country, educational attainment is below average, and unemployment in the area is high. In the library consultation document it is suggested alternative library facilities could be provided from the children’s centre in Chiltern Drive. In reality, access to this location without a car is almost impossible for residents who live on the other side of the Ore Valley, or up on the Downs Farm Estate.

“Ore has a strong and vibrant community and it deserves to be fostered and supported.

“We appreciate ESCC needs to make savings. However, Ore library is not expensive to run - £15,000 per annum, of which £11,500 is staff costs. The principal rationale for closing libraries is use of them is declining, and this is undeniably the case. However, an element of the vicious circle applies here, opening hours for the libraries are cut, staff are demoralised and anxious about their jobs, and little is done to promote the library service in areas where it is needed most. We could suggest alternative ways of running the library that would involve more of the community, but that is for the future as we have to save it first.”