Save Lincolnshire Libraries respond accusing county council of ‘broken promise’

Library campaigners outside the High Court in London. From left, leader of the Labour group at Lincolnshire County Council John Hough, Labour county councillor for Deeping St James Phil Dilks, Labour's shadow minister for libraries Chris Bryant MP and Lesley Hough of Save Lincolnshire Libraries. EMN-150722-102523001

Library campaigners outside the High Court in London. From left, leader of the Labour group at Lincolnshire County Council John Hough, Labour county councillor for Deeping St James Phil Dilks, Labour's shadow minister for libraries Chris Bryant MP and Lesley Hough of Save Lincolnshire Libraries. EMN-150722-102523001

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Campaigners have responded to Lincolnshire County Council’s statement yesterday regarding the High Court ruling that LCC did not act unlawfully by implementing their new library service.

Yesterday LCC said they had been completely vindicated by the High Court and threatened to claim back legal costs in the region of £350,000.

Today in response John Hough said on behalf of campaigners Save Lincolnshire Libraries: “Having broken their promise to keep libraries open with the closure of three libraries already confirmed, the leader of the county council Councillor Martin Hill and Councillor Nick Worth are trying to blame everyone else for the fact that they acted unlawfully before the first judicial review.”

“They should apologise for the mess they have made of the library service. Their failure to accept the offer from Greenwich Leisure to run the whole library service keeping libraries open across Lincolnshire as well as making the savings the county council wanted seems to have passed them by.

“The county council needs to show it is achieving best value for the money it spends and it also has a duty to look after the public service it provides.

“When Greenwich Leisure came along offering to keep services at a price the Council could afford, they should have snapped their hands off and gone with this. Instead they were determined to ignore this sensible option and to force communities to try and save their libraries.

“Many of the volunteers, who have come forward, have made the point that they felt it vital to keep the library open for their communities but they would far rather that paid professionals were running the service and taking responsibility.

“Simon Draper, as a man in the street, should be congratulated for having the courage to stand up to the executive of the county council, a billion pound organisation.

“While the British legal system has many faults, the fact that an individual can still take an all powerful executive to the High Court to expose the fact that the council is acting unlawfully has to be welcomed. Long may that ability for the ordinary British Citizen to hold local government or national government to account continue.”

Save Lincolnshire Libraries also wished to highlight that libraries in Washingborough, Skellingthorpe, and Coningsby/Tattershall were confirmed closed to date, and they argue with no volunteer hub substitute

To follow the campaign which is monitoring closures go to http://savelincslibraries.org.uk/volunteer-crisis/