The thorny subject of Chafford Hundred library’s closure remains a political hot potato at Thurrock Council, with emotions running high at Wednesday’s full council meeting.
Council leader John Kent was ambushed on the subject when he gave a financial report on the authority’s status and then Chafford councillor Tunde Ojetola and portfolio holder Lynn Worrall became involved in an emotive exchange about it.
Delivering his report on the Council’s financial situation Cllr Kent revealed that expenditure on libraries was below budget, prompting Cllr Garry Hague to ask: “Why do we continue to attack when there is a surplus in libraries and culture of £40,000?”
However, Cllr Kent went on the front foot to respond by saying: “I think it’s bizarre people think we are attacking libraries at Chafford Hundred when the school that hosts the library has decided they wanted us out – they evicted us.”
But he did recognise Tory concerns by saying: “If it makes people happy we will go round the block one more time.”
Later in the meeting Cllr Ojetola quizzed Cllr Worrall on methods of teaching reading in borough schools and turned the spotlight on Chafford Hundred library again, saying: “Pulling libraries from communities is robbery” and he rounded on Cllr Worrall for not supporting the Chafford Hundred library enough.
Cllr Worrall was visibly angered by his comments and accused him of making political capital out of the issue, sayimng: “Chafford Hundred Library was in the gift of the school, not the Council. You sent me an email asking me to get involved then two hours later without giving me the chance to respond you went to the press and criticised me.”