Lincolnshire Labour councillors call for rewind on library changes

The Labour opposition of Lincolnshire County Council is calling for library services in the county to be returned to their former state after High Court quashed plans to diminish facilities.

At a meeting on September 26 the group are set to propose that a proportion of the council’s £40 million underspend is spent on returning services lost in the consultation process.

The county council’s Conservative-led administration made the decision to make cuts in library provisions in December 2013.

In the time ahead of a judicial review, called for by campaigners against the plans, the county council announced that 30 libraries would be turned into community hubs and run by volunteers.

Neighbourhood libraries also saw their opening hours cut by 40% per week on average.

The Labour opposition at the council say that £294,000 of underspend money could see libraries reinstated and mobile services reinstalled.

The council, which is in the process of further consultation and is reviewing a previously discarded takeover proposal by Greenwich Leisure, has made no move to restore the service.

Councillor John Hough, Leader of the Labour Opposition, said: “We need to reopen our libraries so that everyone can have a chance to use them as often as possible.

“Following the High Court decision in July the Tory led administration has failed to rectify its mistakes and take action to restore the library service.

“It is about time that the Council did the right thing and ensured that the library service is open to all at times they can access it while it considers how it can provide a full library service in the future.”

Campaigners recently called for the county council’s Executive Committee to resign and for a public apology about the way that the process was handled.

The petition, set up by the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign, now has over 120 signatures.