Hearing into potential judicial review of Lincolnshire libraries’ decision set for July

A hearing on whether to grant a second judicial review over Lincolnshire County Council’s decision to cut the number of libraries from 45 to 15 will be heard.

As previously reported, the council resubmitted plans to see 30 libraries transformed into ‘community hubs’ after their initial proposals in 2013 were quashed.

Both the county council and library campaigners will travel to London on July 21 and 22 to outline their reasons for why a judicial review should or should not be granted.

A judge will then rule on whether the case for a judicial review is legitimate.

Councillor Nick Worth, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “We’ve been notified that the decision on whether or not to grant permission for a judicial review will be taken in court at an oral hearing before a judge.

“If permission is not granted, the claim will fail. If permission is granted, the court will proceed immediately at the same hearing to decide whether the challenge has any merit.

“We are now preparing the strongest possible defence. Sadly, this will mean further – and, in our opinion, unnecessary – expense for taxpayers.

“In the meantime, we’ll continue to implement our plans to create a new-look library service, including working with local groups to develop the network of community hubs.

“We’ll do so in the firm belief that our plans are good for taxpayers, good for library users and good for local communities.”

However, Simon Draper, campaigner for Save Lincolnshire Libraries, said: “The county council’s idea of a volunteer-led library service is completely unsustainable.

“We’ve had a number of witness statements from across the county, ranging from single mums to unemployed people, all of whom rely on their local libraries and fear for their future due to the lack of stability that would inevitably arise from the proposals.

“We do not want to waste taxpayers’ money and that is why we have a sent a letter to the county council asking them to sit down with us and come to some of sort of compromise which is beneficial to the people of Lincolnshire and also the council.”