A three-day High Court hearing to examine the legality of massive cuts to library provision in Gloucestershire and Somerset will commence on Tuesday 27 September 2011 at the Civil Justice Centre in Birmingham (10.30am).
The claims are being brought by concerned Gloucestershire and Somerset residents, backed by campaigners.
In Gloucestershire, the County Council proposes to withdraw funding from 10 of the previous 32 libraries, leaving their long-term future in doubt. It plans to withdraw the much-loved mobile library service – a lifeline to isolated communities and elderly care home residents – altogether.
Similar cuts are proposed in Somerset, with 11 of 34 libraries due to lose their funding and 4 of 6 mobile libraries already off the road.
Injunctions obtained by Public Interest Lawyers in both cases have until now prevented the Councils from going ahead with their unpopular plans. The High Court will decide next week whether they should stop for good.
The Councils have breached their legal obligations to residents by:
1. Failing to provide a „comprehensive and efficient library service‟ as required by the Libraries and Museums Act;
2. Failing to adequately assess and have due regard to its statutory equalities duties; and
3. Failing to consult residents in a fair, effective and open manner and to take into consideration the results.
Daniel Carey of Public Interest Lawyers said as follows: