Library closures ‘on hold’ until court makes decision

Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaingers at No 10 Downing St, April 20014Plans to close some Lincolnshire libraries to save £1.9million have been put on hold until a review has been carried out by the High Court.

Lincolnshire County Council has agreed not to go ahead with its plan to sell off or lease the existing libraries until the decision of the court is known and will continue to maintain libraries at 60 per cent of their current operation.

The Judicial Review of the council’s decision to close libraries, get rid of more than 100 mobile library stops and cut up to 170 jobs will now take place in the High Court in London on July 8 and 9.

The grounds for the judicial review include the possibly illegal nature of the consultation process as the decision had already been taken, the failure to deal with harm caused to people under the Equalities Act and the failure of the council’s plan to provide a comprehensive public library service under the Libraries Act.

Simon Draper, the applicant in the judicial review, said: “I welcome the decision of the county council not to implement its plans to get rid of 30 libraries until the court decides.

“However I am very disappointed that it is still pressing ahead next week with its plans to get rid of jobs, to cut away the mobile library service from large numbers of villages in Lincolnshire and to slash the hours of the remaining libraries.

“Thousands of people are going to be losing their library service on May 6. It is not good enough.”

Julie Harrison, spokesman for Save Lincolnshire Libraries, said: “We welcome a date being set for the judicial review.

“The sooner the court decides that the county council has acted illegally and should be providing a comprehensive library service across the whole county the better.

“It is still not too late for the county to change its mind and stop its mindless destruction of the library service on May 6.

“We appeal now for the county council to see sense and stop cutting all this, before we lose the immensely important and valuable library service in Lincolnshire which had over five million interactions with the public in the last year.”

Under the plans Spalding library would be one of ten to remain open, with Long Sutton being one of five tier two libraries open between 18 and 31 hours a week.

Other libraries such as Holbeach and Donington will be taken over by community groups.

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