Library earns injunction reprieve

PUBLISHED: 10:00 26 July 2011 | UPDATED: 10:08 26 July 2011

The library is now safe from closure until a judicial review takes place in September

The library is now safe from closure until a judicial review takes place in September

Copyright Archant Ltd

HIGHBRIDGE'S closure-threatened library has earned a reprieve after a judge granted an injunction to postpone closures across Somerset.

Although the injunction has not saved the facility indefinitely, it does mean it will remain open until at least September, when a judicial review will take place.

The library was first faced with closure earlier this year when Somerset County Council announced in December 2010 that it would be unable to fund it.

Although Burnham and Highbridge Town Council stepped forward earlier this year with a deal to save the library at a cost of £4,000, fresh concerns were raised over whether there were enough volunteers to run it.

The withdrawal of council funding led public interest lawyers to intervene on behalf of campaigners across Somerset, and an interim injunction was recently granted.

The injunction, banning the council from closing libraries or implementing any redundancies, was supported by Lord Justice Beatson at Birmingham Civil Justice Centre on July 22, and will be in place until a judicial review hearing takes place in September.

Town councillor Helen Groves, who is a member of the working group charged with protecting the library, welcomed the news, saying: “I think it’s good that the injunction has been granted.

“It has given us time to think of ways to keep the library open, which is really important.

“While it’s important to remember that the injunction is only effective until September, it is very welcome news as it prevents any closure from taking place before then.”

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: “The council welcomes the clarity that the decision of the court now provides, and will, of course, abide by the terms of the interim injunction. The council will put forward a robust defence of its proposals for the libraries service at the judicial review hearing in September, and in the meantime will continue the implementation of plans to reduce the mobile library fleet, as permitted by the court.”

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