Liberal Democrats Lodge Legal Challenge on County’s Library Strategy

April 16, 2012 8:10 PM

The LIBERAL DEMOCRAT group has lodged a legal challenge called a 'call-in' under Gloucestershire County Council's constitution after the Tory cabinet approved plans for a new library strategy.

The 'call-in' will halt the strategy from coming into force until councillors on the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee can meet to review the grounds that have been put forward. Jeremy Hilton in Bishop's Cleeve Library

Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said:

"The whole process for the strategic review of the library network has been shambolic from start to finish. The Tories first plan was thrown out by a judicial review last year, after it was deemed unlawful.

"The cabinet has learnt nothing from this and proceeded with some changes to the original plan, but with the fundamental flaws remaining intact.

"There appears to be a blatant favouritism with Tories increasing opening times at libraries in their Cotswold heartland but cutting hours in other parts of the county.

"We still have the ridiculous situation of the third most popular library in the county at Bishops Cleeve having its hours slashed by 13 hours per week and Stow Library number 25 in popularity getting an extra 19.5 hours each week - this is nonsense."

The new library strategy involves a tiered network of libraries across the county with seven libraries facing the axe at Berkeley, Brockworth, Bream, Minchinhampton, Lechlade, Mitcheldean and Newnham, unless the community steps in to run them.