Press Statement Cllr James Abbott

Tuesday 26th of February 2019


Braintree District Council administration "sat on its hands" during library closure consultation

In response to questions raised by Cllr. James Abbott, Green Party district and county councillor, at the Braintree District Council (BDC) Full Council meeting of 25th February, the Leader of BDC confirmed that the council had made no comment in response to the recent (now closed) Essex County Council library consultation.

The ECC consultation proposes closing all Tier 4 libraries and Tier 3 libraries might be kept open but only if run by volunteers. Several T4 and T3 libraries in rural parts of Braintree District are at risk including at Silver End, which is within the area Cllr. Abbott represents. 

Silver End library is in a building (the village hall) which BDC owns and yet the council has apparently said nothing to ECC about the potential closure of this library.

Not a single councillor other than Cllr Abbott mentioned the library closure programme at the meeting last night despite there being a wide ranging debate on services, including many not under direct district council control. 

Cllr James Abbott said:

"It is a disgrace, but frankly not surprising, that the Conservative leadership at BDC sat on its hands during the ECC consultation instead of backing the thousands of residents in this district who want to save their local libraries from closure. 

The reality of the decline in many of our local services is a long way from the cartoon presentation given by the Leader of BDC last night where communities apparently will have all the services they need.

The Conservatives appear divorced from reality on some issues and this was apparent when the Cabinet Member for Health and Communities spoke in his report about Social Isolation and Loneliness. Libraries are a vital resource not just to take books out on loan but also for people to go to a safe space staffed by professionals where they can ask for help and advice. In rural areas parts of the local community can suffer disproportionately from isolation where there are fewer support services than in the larger towns. There are elderly people in Silver End who go to the library and other places as a source of social contact because they live alone and some who go there as they do not have a computer at home but can access one at the library.

Silver End library and other village libraries in this area must not be closed for these and many other reasons. Silver End library is in a building owned by BDC and is one of the lowest cost libraries in Essex. Yet despite plenty of opportunities prior to last night during the consultation period lasting months, and at the meeting last night, the BDC Conservative leading councillors had "no comment" to make until questions were asked. Only they can explain this behaviour when so many local residents are supporting campaigns to keep their local libraries open."


Press Statement from Witham and Braintree Green Party

Lead Green candidates announced for May local elections in Braintree District (Saturday 2nd February 2019)


Exactly 3 months ahead of the local elections to be held on Thursday 2nd May, Witham and Braintree Green Party is announcing its lead candidates for the Braintree District Council elections as:

James Abbott and Bob Wright - Silver End and Cressing ward (which includes Rivenhall)

Michelle Weeks - Witham North ward

There will also be Green candidates in the majority of other wards in the district.

There are 49 district councillors in Braintree District of which 40 are currently Conservative.

All the district seats are up for election on 2nd May, along with all seats for parish councils.

Brief details:

James Abbott lives in Rivenhall and has been a Braintree District Councillor for nearly 20 years and an Essex County Councillor for nearly 6 years.

Bob Wright lives in Rivenhall and was a Braintree District Councillor from 2011 to 2015. He is seeking to regain his seat.

Michelle Weeks lives in Witham and has stood for the Greens many times in Witham North ward. In a by-election in 2016 Michelle secured 25% of the vote in the ward.

Regular updates (with photos) on the local Green election campaign can be found on the James Abbott facebook page.


Next Green Drinks, 21st of March! 

Come and meet some like-minded people at our Green Drinks at Fowlers Farm in Braintree/Freeport at 7:30pm on Thursday, 21st of March. Everybody who is interested in Green Issues is welcome, - you don´t need to be a party member. If you are interested, contact Karin for more information or introduction to the group at




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