Campaigners welcome a full judicial review into library closures in Gloucestershire
Campaigners in Gloucestershire heard today there will be a full judicial review into proposed library closures.
At a court in Birmingham Judge Justice Beatson announced a full judicial review will be held on September 27 and 28 into Gloucestershire County Council's decision to close 10 libraries in the county.
The preliminary hearing was called by the High Court after campaigners complained about a flawed consultation and a lack of details from the county council.
Until the full hearing libraries and mobile libraries will remain open.
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One change however is that the county council is now allowed to develop its proposals and talk to community groups in the eventuality of library closures. In the injunction over the last three weeks they were not permitted to do so.
However, they are not allowed to do anything which could not be reversed should their appeal be unsuccessful.
Question marks were raised at the hearing over the council's decision to go ahead with the closures which they made on February 2 when the consultation period close nine days later on February 11.
The county council's barrister James Goudie defended the action. He said: "There was a very thorough consultation. There is no question of minds being made up before the end of the consultation period.
"All consultation responses were taken into account including those which came in after February 2.
"There was no requirement to hold public meetings which we held across the county. This shows how thorough the consultataion was."
After the hearing,
Demelza Jones who is a member of the Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries said: "This is a very welcome outcome and we are really pleased. It is regrettable however that it got this far, this is taxpayers' money.
"It is also great news about the mobile libraries because they reach the most vulnerable people in our community. I hope this is a lesson for Gloucestershire County Council."