High court halts Gloucestershire library closures

The High Court today issued an injunction stopping library cuts in Gloucestershire until a hearing next month when  a challenge, supported by campaigners, will be heard.

The injunction’s terms include a bar on the county council transferring or agreeing to transfer any library building or lease or responsibility for any existing library, and transferring any mobile library or other library asset (such as computers, shelving etc). No funds can be withdrawn or library closed while the injunction is in force.

At the hearing next month the council will challenge the injunction.

The BBC quotes theleader of Gloucestershire county council saying:

This is very frustrating for council taxpayers and community groups. They are being forced into a costly legal process at a time when 20 communities have stepped forward with innovative and exciting business plans to take over their local facility.

Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries said:

Whilst we regret it has come to this we did warn Gloucestershire County Council from the start that this would happen. 15,000+people signed  a petition calling on them to pause and carry out an impartial, independent review of their proposals. The“consultation” feedback shows  that the public overwhelmingly rejected their plans. There was coordinated day of protest in every library in the county. All of this yet they refused to listen and have instead chosen to walk into an expensive court case. We welcome this news we received today. At last there is some hope. We support the legal challenge and are raising funds for it.

The progress of this case has been followed closely, since its inception, by campaigners in Suffolk. While many aspects of the situation here are different there are significant similarities.

Sources: BBC, Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries

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