I have decided that the means by which the county council decided and reached their decision was flawed, in two respects. In respect of the consultation, and of their failure to properly deal with an application by a charitable organisation [Greenwich Leisure Limited] which already ran library service for two London boroughs, Greenwich and Woolwich. I have decided that the decision made in December last year should be quashed. — Mr Justice Collins
Two weeks ago, saw campaigners in the High Court in London challenging the Philistines at Lincolnshire County Council, who wished to close two-thirds of libraries, fire 170 library staff, reduce hours in the remaining libraries.
- Campaigners in the High Court to quash mass closure of Lincolnshire Libraries
- High Court action to stop mass closure of Lincolnshire Libraries — day 1
On the second day in the High Court, the case for the council began to collapse when asked, how many people during the consultation were in favour of library closure. The answer was none. The judge responded he had never come across a consultation where not a single person was in favour of the proposed course of action.
Last week, the good news came through, the campaigners had won their case in the High Court on two counts, the failure of the council to consult, the failure to consider alternatives.
The Defendant is required by Section 7 of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 to provide “a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof”.
The Philistines who made the decision, who showed contempt for local people, who showed they are unfit to hold public office, are still in office.
The campaign to save the libraries was a model campaign, something other campaigners should take due note of and learn, and not just on libraries. They were on the street, they took direct action, they lobbied, the petitioned, they involved well-known authors, they made very effective use of social media and they were prepared to go to the High Court.
Most decisions taken by councils are flawed, they go through on the nod, without any proper consultation or scrutiny or representation. Arrogant councillors feel they can do as they please, there to ego trip and get their snouts stuck in the trough. As the High Court challenge has shown, when subject to proper scrutiny, most decisions are shown to be flawed, not in the public interest and for the library closures, unlawful.
Those councillors who took the decision to close libraries, who showed arrogant contempt for the local communities they were elected to serve, who have shown they are unfit to hold public office, must be kicked out of office, and they should also be surcharged to cover the costs, as those costs should not be borne by the local tax payer.
- High Court quashes decision of Lincolnshire County Council to close libraries!
- #LibraryJudicialReview WIN on two counts
- #LibraryJudicialReview digest of online articles
- Lincolnshire libraries: Martin Hill apologises and says talks will be held with Greenwich Leisure Ltd whose initial bid to run every library was ignored