Vaizey 'not minded' to intervene in Lincolnshire

Vaizey 'not minded' to intervene in Lincolnshire

Libraries minister Ed Vaizey has said that he is not minded to intervene in Lincolnshire's proposed library plans.

The county council is pushing ahead with plans to turn over 40 of its libraries to community groups or else see them close, while only providing 15 libraries still maintained and run by the council. Library campaigners in the county fought hard against  the plans, taking the case to the High Court where a judge ruled that the council's plans were "flawed", and ordered the council to go back to the drawing board.

However, after reconsidering its plans, and looking at an outside bid to run the service, the council put forward the same set of proposals in January this year.

Following the council's announcement, Maurice Nauta, a retired chief librarian for the county's service, wrote a letter to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on behalf of the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign, objecting to the proposals on the grounds that the council would be failing in its duty to provide a "comprehensive and efficient" service, as outlined by the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964.

However, after reviewing the situation, minister Ed Vaizey has written to the council, and said that he is "not currently minded to order such an inquiry".

The letter states: "The Secretary of State’s present position is that a local inquiry is not necessary to resolve any real doubt or uncertainty about whether LCC is complying with its statutory duty. The Secretary of State considers that the Council has consulted with the local community and has reasonably explained, analysed and properly justified their proposals. The Secretary of State considers that there is no other good reason why an inquiry should be ordered."

People are still invited to make representations, which will be accepted until 5pm on 24th April 2015.