THE people of Thurrock have been heard... the libraries have been saved.

Council leader Councillor John Kent made the announcement this evening at a full council meeting to widespread joy of those in the chamber.

An added and unexpected announcement also heard that a new library will open in Purlfeet – taking the number of libraries in the borough to 10.

A Thurrock Council consultation looking at ways to save £500,000 suggested one way was to close some of the libraries in the borough when it launched last month.

This led to public outcry and the Save our Thurrock Libraries group collecting over 3,000 signatures in support of keeping all libraries in the borough open.

A campaign by the Gazette to save the libraries – which was backed Grays boy and comic Russell Brand - also saw huge support from the community.

Speaking at tonight’s (Feb 25) meeting, Mr Kent said: “We asked for people’s response and boy did we get them!”

He added that over 3,000 consultation responses were received by the authority, and suggested changes to the service from within the consultation will be added alongside those drawn up by council officers.

Mr Kent said: “Not only will no libraries be closing but a new tenth library will open in Purfleet.”

He added: “There will be changes to the service in the borough but it will be in an expansive service.”

More details on a new library in Purfleet will be announced next month at a council cabinet meeting.