Angry residents held a demonstration today to prevent the closure of a library causing “a big dent in the community”.

Users young and old held banners and balloons outside Chigwell Library in Hainault Road protesting against Essex County Council’s decision to shut it down.

It is one of many libraries facing closure, including Debden, Chipping Ongar and Buckhurst Hill.

Jacquie MacLeod, vice chairman and treasurer of Chigwell Residents Association and leader of the campaign, gave a speech on behalf of residents.

“I’m a firm believer in if you don’t try you will never know,” she said.

“The services it provides not just for the young people but up to the elderly. It’s an all giving library and really is the heart of the community and it’s not fair that the heart is ripped out.”

The county council's non-aligned group of councillors put down a no-confidence motion in the library closure policy at Chelmsford last month.

They are now putting down an amendment to the council's budget to divert more than a third of a million the council spends on private health insurance for its senior officers to support libraries instead.

Should Chigwell Library close, the next nearest facility is based in Loughton - a three-mile commute for residents.

Chigwell Parish Chairman Darshan Sungar attended the protest alongside his family said the closure would be “a big dent to the local community”.

He said: “We are in support of residents, we think that library is the heart of the community. We want to keep the library open as its one of the used library in the area.

Cllr Sungar also said the parish council have written to Essex County Council to reconsider their decision of closing the long running community facility.

“We are going to fight tooth and nail and I would like to thank all of the Chigwell Residents Association, other associations involved and especially Jacquie for putting together today which has been fantastic.”

Ann Michelle, who attended the gathering at midday, said: “Britain is known for its books and history. If they take down one, they’ll continue. I think it’s just sad.”

Her sister, Vicky Michelle, also used to bring her daughter to Chigwell Library when she was a child.

She said: “I think it’s really important for the community otherwise they’ll be no libraries, no clubs, except buildings.

“The Council should really take notice at what their residents want. We voted them in to represent us.”

Essex County Council plans to enhance e-library facilities, increase mobile library services and encourage more family memberships following the announced closures.

Several residents signed the petition at the event, and more than 700 signatures have been collected on the Change.Org page.

Long-term resident Sharon, who has used Chigwell Library for over 50, years said the facility inspired her decision to become a teacher.

She said: “If children haven’t got a library to read, how are they going to have a mentality? They are not going to have any mental, emotional or physical wellbeing to go forward in their lives.”

Preeti Panchal, from East Ham, even came in support by bringing her hand-painted poster designed especially for today’s protest.

“I heard about it through a friend in my painting class," she explained.

“I was thinking of my kids when I take them to the library, I plan to give this painting to my son as a wedding gift.”

An official meeting to discuss Chigwell Library’s fate will be held on February 15 at 7.30pm.

To sign Essex County Council and’s petition’s visit and