Tyne & Wear

Public meeting over Newcastle library closure plans

Lee Hall
Image caption Mr Hall said Newcastle was in danger of becoming a cultural wasteland

A screenwriter attended a meeting with hundreds of others over plans to shut libraries on Tyneside.

Newcastle City Council city wants to get rid of 10 of its 18 branches as part of plan to save £7m.

Hundreds of people, including Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall gathered at the Assembly Rooms, in Newcastle city centre, on Wednesday.

The council said it had no choice but to consider closures to meet overall cuts of £100m over the next few years.

Mr Hall said: "I don't want Newcastle to become a cultural wasteland. I'm not a politician but I want the libraries and the arts to be defended.

"I don't want Newcastle to be seen as just a shopping mall."

The Labour leader of the council, Nick Forbes, has admitted the budget cuts are "horrendous".

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