Brent library campaigners lose appeal

The court of appeal has rejected the Brent library campaigners' appeal against the closure of six local libraries.

In a judgment given in court this afternoon (19th December), Lord Justices Pill, Richards and Davis upheld the decision made in October by Mr Justice Ouseley at judicial review in favour of Brent council, rejecting the claims made by residents that the council had fallen foul of the Equality Act and been unfair to community groups who put forward proposals to save the libraries, which include those at Kensal Rise and Preston Park.

John Halford of Bindmans LLP, representing the campaigners, said the decision was "very disappointing". He said: "If the case is to be taken forward, campaigners need to petition the Supreme Court, the highest court in the country, with their case. It will decide whether to give permission to hear the case on the grounds that it raises issues of public importance. In my view it does raise those issues...Very similar decisions are being made up and down the country in relation to other library services, and we say they have to be made with the utmost care."

Graham Durham, secretary of the Save Cricklewood Library campaign, speaking immediately after the judgment was delivered, said that the campaigners would continue their legal battle. "We will be fighting on, showing the same spirit. We've already decided," he said.

Halford added that he would be asking the Supreme Court to grant an injunction against the further dismantling of the libraries if permission was granted for for the case to be heard. The current injunction expired with today's judgment, he said. 

Brent Council leader Ann John said: "We are pleased that today the court of appeal found unanimously in the council's favour, upholding the decision of Mr Justice Ouseley that the council acted lawfully. We will now be able to begin implementing the improvement plan that will deliver a better library service for the people of Brent."