Challenge to library closure plan in Gloucestershire

Woman in library
Image caption A council spokesman said it was "not surprised at the delay tactics"

The High Court has ordered a temporary halt to the closure of libraries in Gloucestershire.

There were protests last November when Gloucestershire County Council said it would withdraw funding from 10 branches as part of its £114m spending cuts.

Campaigners won an injunction stopping the council proceeding which the local authority will challenge on 7 July.

A council spokesman said it believed most could be kept open but feared the injunction could impede this.

'Short-term setback'

Conservative leader of Gloucestershire County Council, councillor Mark Hawthorne, said the authority was "not surprised by the delay tactics".

"This is very frustrating for council taxpayers and community groups.

"They are being forced into a costly legal process at a time when 20 communities have stepped forward with innovative and exciting business plans to take over their local facility.

"My message to them is that this is a short-term setback and we will continue to support them in developing and working towards successful community-run facilities," he added.

Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers, who had brought the action, said the High Court had stopped Gloucestershire County Council's library cuts in their tracks.

"It cannot proceed with closures, and must continue to fund libraries, until the legality of these cuts has been properly decided by the court."

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