A COUNCILLOR has criticised Stockton Council for its spending priorities as a local library closes its doors.

Egglescliffe Library has been put up for sale and it will close as a lending facility at the end of March.

“For Sale” signs have now been put up on the library and it is hoped that a buyer will be found soon.

Eaglescliffe ward councillor Phil Dennis said: “It is so galling that they are closing Egglescliffe library, purely to save £40,000 a year, when they spend £160,000 on a lump of metal on Stockton High Street that makes a noise twice a day. The decisions that they make are completely galling.”

“Egglescliffe Library is at the heart of our community. It is more than just a library.”

But Councillor Norma Wilburn, Stockton Borough Council’s cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture, said: “If we want to talk about spending priorities we can talk about how we’ve spent £350,000 on refurbishing Yarm Library, which is less than a mile away, and indeed, invested in our Libraries Service at a time when many local authorities are abandoning theirs altogether.

“Of course, we are incredibly sad to have to close Egglescliffe Library because we’d rather not lose any of our library facilities, but rather than respond to huge Government funding reductions by closing libraries en-masse we have pursued a clear strategy of investing in town centre libraries and co-locating smaller branches with other services, as we’ve done at children’s centres in Roseworth and Thornaby.

“Nobody will be abandoned as a result of the closure because we will be providing library services to people who are housebound, while the mobile library will be making weekly visits to Egglescliffe

“As for the Stockton Flyer, we are proud to celebrate our railway heritage and though it is undoubtedly very loud it has also proven to be a really popular addition to Stockton High Street.”