Sunderland library protestors’ dismay over TV agony aunt’s backing for closure plans

Denise Robertson
Denise Robertson
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PROTESTERS against proposed library cuts have said they are disappointed Denise Robertson is now backing city council plans.

The TV agony aunt told the Echo she wanted to meet Sunderland city councillors over proposals to axe nine libraries.

But after viewing the controversial plans, the 79-year-old then said she agreed with them.

She said: “Sunderland’s libraries have given me more than I can ever repay, so I was anxious when there was talk of libraries being closed. Would all that I had enjoyed still be available to everyone in the city?

“Now that I have examined the new plan my fears have diminished.”

But Gary Duncan, from campaign group Hands Off Sunderland Libraries, said: “We are disappointed to see Denise Robertson do a complete U-turn and back the council’s plan for nine library closures.

“It seems she has fallen for the council’s propaganda and is now saying services will improve when the libraries are shut down. This defies all logic. How can a service improve when it has disappeared?

“The wider public, thankfully, is not fooled so easily. We know there can be no improvement in services when the libraries are lost.

“It’s really quite obvious that nine library closures and reduced opening hours across the whole library network will mean an inferior service and a huge loss for the people of Sunderland.”

He also accused the council of “doublespeak” over its controversial proposals to shut Hendon, Doxford Park, Easington Lane, East Herrington, Fence Houses, Monkwearmouth, Silksworth, Southwick and Washington Green libraries.

He added: “Our campaign is growing all the time. Sunderland residents have had enough. Why should they suffer for the mistakes of the rich?

“If the banks can demand £1trillion of taxpayers’ money after causing an economic calamity, why can’t our council ask the Government for a measly £850,000 to keep librarians in work and vital library services fully functional?”