fight to halt library closures cost Somerset County Council £200k
cost of losing a judicial review into an earlier plan to restructure
part of its library service has been announced as over £200,000
by Somerset County Council.
The Council had proposed reducing hours at some of its libraries
and moving others to
be run by communities,
including Highbridge's (pictured), as well as making reductions
to the size of the mobile library service.
campaigners challenged the decision and won a legal ruling last
year. The cost to the Council has been published this week as
this, £130,000 has been paid to the complainants in respect
of their legal costs and £72,000 represents the direct legal
costs of the County Council.
The basis of the challenge was whether the Council had consulted
fully over its proposals and whether it had taken the views of
specific groups into account under equalities legislation.
court ruled that the consultation carried out was appropriate,
but ruled against the Council in regard to its compliance with
Member David Hall told Burnham-On-Sea.com on Friday: "The
court case was one of the first legal challenges in the country
faced by a Council attempting to pass over the management of some
library services to the local community."
that ruling, several Councils in England have in fact done this
same thing very successfully. It is now becoming widely accepted
that communities can play a direct role in running libraries."
would much rather have not had to spend £200,000 in legal
costs and instead spent that money on frontline services, including
the delivery of a sustainable future for the library service in