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Campaign Group Instructs Lawyers As Battle To Save Local Libraries Continues

Save Desborough Library Campaign Group Have Instructed Expert Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell

11.01.2018

James Clarke, Press Officer | +44 (0)161 838 3169

A local campaign group has instructed specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell as they consider legal action in their fight against library closures proposed by Northamptonshire County Council as part of cost cutting measures.

The Save Desborough Library campaign group was established after Northamptonshire County Council announced proposals to close more than half the county’s public libraries, including Desborough Library. 

The council, which needs to find £115m in savings over the next four years, have put forward three proposals in their consultation which is due to close this weekend, with a final decision being made in February.

In two of the proposals 21 libraries, out of a total of 36 libraries in the county, would be closed or become community-managed while 15 would remain under county council management. In the third option, 28 libraries would be closed down.

As part of their ongoing battle to keep the libraries open, the Save Desborough Library campaign group is fundraising to help raise funds needed to review the council’s consultation, and if necessary issue a judicial review application against Northamptonshire County Council.

Paula Holmes, who is heading the Save Desborough Library campaign group, said: “This is an issue close to many people’s hearts across the county, as this group proves. We are all just local residents who believe that our libraries are too important and we cannot stand by while they are closed without fighting for them.

“The impact on the communities should these libraries, like Desborough, close, would be devastating. Many residents rely on Desborough library for not only books, but access the district council one-stop shop, bus pass and blue badge renewal, children’s services and much more. Northamptonshire is a rural county and without having library services available to residents locally, local communities are going to really struggle.

“We believe these proposals are fundamentally unfair and will impact on vulnerable local people the most. We are crowd funding for support in our campaign. You can support us by visiting https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-desborough-library/.” 

The proposed cuts and consultation have received national media attention since announced. This has seen people, including Watchmen creator Alan Moore, speak out against them.

In November, a group of 60 primary school children were joined by their parents and others to protest proposals to close Desborough Library. 

Caroline Barrett, a specialist public law and human rights lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the group, said: 

Expert Opinion
“We have been instructed by the Save Desborough Library Campaign Group to establish whether Northamptonshire County Council’s consultation and decision making is lawful.

“It is vital that the council consults residents, and makes its final decision, in a lawful and fair manner. Any flaws in the consultation and decision making process may ultimately be subject to judicial review proceedings.

“This is obviously a very important issue and whilst we appreciate that local authorities are experiencing budget and resourcing pressures, the scale of the proposed library closures is significant, and it is therefore unsurprising that so many local residents are so worried about the future of these invaluable services.”
Caroline Barrett, Associate Solicitor

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