Campaigners return to court in fight to save six libraries in Brent from the axe

10:57 10 November 2011

Library campaigners outside the High Court at a previous hearing

Library campaigners outside the High Court at a previous hearing

Archant

Crusaders are appealing against earlier ruling that backed closures

Library campaigners are back in court today (Thursday) to appeal against a ruling which paved the way for Brent Council to axe half of their libraries.

Crusaders have been battling to 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.

Despite 82 per cent of respondents to a council consultation being against the closures town hall chiefs declared they would go.

Undeterred, campaigners set up an umbrella group aptly named Brent Libraries SOS and took the case to the Royal Courts of Justice in July where they argued the consultation was flawed.

However, last month Mr Justice Ouseley ruled in favour of the council and the six branches were closed immediately.

Today, crusaders will appeal against the ruling in a hearing that is expected to last one-and-half-days.

Author Maggie Gee, who lives in Kensal Rise and uses the library located in Bathurst Road, is at the Court of Appeal today.

If the Kensal Rise branch is closed for good the building will be returned to All Souls College in Oxford as they own the site.

However residents have set up a charity and have a drawn up a business plan so they can take over the day-to-day running of the library as a community project.

Ms Gee said: “We have to be hopeful.

“If we lose the ball it will be in All Souls court.

“All Souls will have to speak up. It has to show that it believes in books and libraries.”

Since the branch was close, campaigners have set up a pop-up library outside where residents have been donating and borrowing books.

Writer Nicholas Rankin said: “There is now a simple structure with shelves for books. Ii is fantastic that the community has come together like this. It has shown resistance and initiative.”

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