Library campaigners have won injunction against Council

The Surrey Libraries Action Movement has won their High Court battle stopping Surrey County Council from pushing forward with plans to introduce volunteer-led libraries.

Earlier this month, the group sought a judicial review of the council’s decision making process, which would see libraries forced to search for volunteers in a bid to remain open.

Slam said it was surprised the injunction was granted so quickly, due to the expected three-week waiting period, but believe it shows the strength of their case.

Lee Godfrey, from Slam, said: “The volunteer model is unsustainable” and that the council have not carried out a sufficient assessment to justify the huge risk of the community-partnered model.

In September last year, under pressure from government cuts, the Conservative-run council agreed to cut back on paid staff in ten libraries.

The campaigners highlighted examples of failed community partnered libraries and argued that volunteers should only be centred around professional staff.

Mr Godfrey said: “We think the risk of closure is high and that level of risk is unacceptable.”

“Libraries in these smaller communities are a crucial resource and do a lot more than just hand out library books.”

The group fear that the changes will have a detrimental effect on vulnerable members of the community, including the young and elderly as services, such as the elderly drop-in centres and rhyme-time for toddlers may face closure.

Lib Dems have called for the council to abandon their unpopular plans rather than continue with a costly legal battle.

Cllr Hazel Watson, Leader of the Opposition on SCC, said: “Continuing with the ill-advised and unpopular High Court battle is not a good use of Surrey council taxpayers money.”

Lib Dem councillor for Epsom and Ewell South-West, Colin Taylor, said: “I am personally in full support of this call. We believe the council should listen to what its residents want.”

Follow @Surrey_SLAM on twitter for updates of their ongoing campaign.

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