Austin Macauley 03 September 2014

County’s library closure plans put to public again

Lincolnshire County Council’s has been forced to put new library closure plans to public consultation after original ideas were blocked.

The news came after a High Court ruling halted original proposals to close more than two-thirds of the council’s libraries.

Although Lincolnshire’s shake up of libraries would have been legal, the judicial review decided the town hall had failed to properly consider a bid by not for profit Greenwich Leisure to run the service.

The council will soon launch a new consultation on the future of library services, detailing that plans to close 32 of 47 libraries remain the council’s preferred option.

Cllr Nick Worth, executive member for libraries, said: ‘Under our initial proposal, 74% of Lincolnshire households would be able to reach a council-run library within 30 minutes by public transport, and there would be online and targeted services. These would be complemented by a non-statutory network of community hubs and mobile libraries.

‘This remains our preferred option, but we accept that there may be other ways to deliver the excellent and sustainable library service we want for local people.’

He said the council would hold discussion with Greenwich Leisure over its proposals to run the whole service.

Cllr Worth added: ‘The result of receiving a valid expression of interest under the Community Right to Challenge Scheme might be a requirement to put the library service out to competition. In view of this possibility, we will start to make preparations for a possible future procurement process.’

A decision on the future of library services will be made in early 2015.

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