Brent library campaigners speak of disappoinment after losing High Court appeal

Council leader is pleased with ruling this afternoon

Library campaigners have spoken of their disappointment after losing an appeal against a High Court ruling that allowed the council to close half of the borough’s branches.

Crusaders have been dealt a bitter blow after their bid to have the earlier decision overturned was rejected this afternoon at the Royal Courts of Justice.

The campaigners set up an umbrella group aptly named Brent Libraries SOS to try and save the branches in Barham Park, Cricklewood, Kensal Rise, Neasden, Preston and Tokyngton since the council announced they faced the chop in a �1m cost-cutting measure.

In a joint statement, Brent Libraries SOS said: “Our legal team presented compelling evidence of damage to communities from Brent Council’s library closures, so we are disappointed that the appeal judges have not found in our favour.

“Closing half of our libraries has had a devastating effect on the most vulnerable members of our community, among them children and families, the elderly, the disabled and those unemployed or on low incomes.

“Brent has always had the means to keep these libraries open, it just lacks the will. The overwhelming strength of public feeling over the last year shows that communities need, want and will support local libraries.

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“We are grateful to the excellent and committed work on behalf of the

community of our legal team, John Halford, Dinah Rose, Gerry Facenna and Edward Craven, and are taking their advice on our options in the light of this judgment.”

However, Cllr Ann John, Leader of Brent Council, welcomed the ruling.

She 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.”