Today, Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries were pleased to receive the following news:
Public Interest Lawyers
Press Release – 17 June 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HIGH COURT ISSUES INJUNCTION AGAINST GLOUCESTERSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL PREVENTING LIBRARY CLOSURES
The High Court today issued an Injunction against Gloucestershire County Council
stopping its planned library closures in their tracks. Public Interest lawyers obtained the
Injunction as part of the judicial review case being brought on behalf of a
Gloucestershire library user opposing the library cuts. The case has the support of a
large number of Gloucestershire library users.
The Injunction prevents the Council from:
1. Withdrawing funding from any library which it currently funds;
2. Transferring or agreeing to transfer any library building or lease or responsibility
for running any existing library;
3. Transferring or agreeing to transfer any mobile library or other library asset (such
as computers, shelving etc.); and
4. Closing or taking any steps to close any library.
The injunction is effective immediately.
The Injunction preserves the status-quo to allow the Court to fully review the lawfulness
of the Council’s cuts to library provision at a hearing on 7 July 2011. If the challenge is
successful, then it will proceed to a full hearing quickly thereafter.
Until today, Gloucestershire County Council was pressing ahead with the library cuts,
despite strong public opposition with the county. Mobile libraries, issuing over 100,000
books a year to care homes and children in deprived areas were due to be taken out of
action over the next few weeks. The Council wants to reduce the number of libraries
with full opening hours from 38 to 9 and to withdraw funding from 10 of those libraries
altogether. The scale of the cuts is more than twice the percentage reduction in central
Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers said as follows:
“The High Court has stopped Gloucestershire County Council’s library cuts in
their tracks today. It cannot proceed with closures, and must continue to fund
libraries, until the legality of these cuts has been properly decided by the Court.”
Daniel Carey, also a solicitor at Public Interest Lawyers, added that:
“The Council was in such haste to push these cuts through it couldn’t even wait
until the consultation period was over. It has tried to do the same with the court
case, but the High Court has today ensured that these cuts will receive the full
scrutiny of the law. The Council has very clear statutory duties to provide
libraries and these plans breach them.”
For more information please contact Phil Shiner or Daniel Carey on 0121 515 5069
or 07815 089526 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 a 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. If you would like to help details are here.