Angry protest as Sunderland library cuts rammed through

Library closure protesters at Sunderland Civic Centre
Library closure protesters at Sunderland Civic Centre
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PROTESTERS took to the streets to voice their anger over library closures.

Sunderland City Council agreed to a recommendation to close the nine libraries – Doxford Park, Easington Lane, East Herrington, Fence Houses, Hendon, Monkwearmouth, Silksworth, Southwick and Washington Green – in a bid to modernise services and save an estimated £850,000.

But campaign group Hands off Sunderland Libraries was angered by the fact the controversial decision did not go to a vote at last night’s full council meeting, which they had hoped to influence with a planned protest.

About 30 campaigners still turned up last night to make their feelings known before the council meeting at the Civic Centre.

Council leader Paul Watson spoke to the group to explain the council’s decision.

But chairman Gary Duncan feels let down by the process. He said: “I don’t think a few people at the cabinet should be voting on the future of nine libraries, which are used by thousands of people.

“We want full democracy and we wanted it to go to a full vote so we could see which councillors voted to take our libraries away.”

Speaking before the meeting, Councillor John Kelly, portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, said the decision-making process was “in line” with the city council’s constitution.