Campaigners Including Alan Bennett, Zadie Smith And Philip Pullman Fail To Prevent Brent Libraries Closure
A list of high-profile campaigners including playwright Alan Bennett, authors Zadie Smith and Philip Pullman and musicians Nick Cave, Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys have lost a court of appeal bid to prevent the closure of six libraries in Brent, north-west London, reports the Guardian.
Three judges, Lord Justice Pill, Lord Justice Richards and Lord Justice Davis upheld an earlier high court decision that rejected the campaigners' claims that the proposed closures in Barham Park, Kensal Rise, Preston Road, Neasden, Cricklewood and Tokyngton were "fundamentally flawed and unlawful".
Brent Council argue that closing the libraries will help them find the £104m of savings it needs to make whilst and enable them to reinvest in the service, leading to "fewer, but better-resourced libraries".
Campaigners say they are considering taking the case to the Supreme Court. Margaret Bailey of campaign group SOS Brent Libraries told the Daily Mail: "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."
The outcome of the court case will make ominous reading for campaign groups up and down the country where libraries are under threat as local councils scramble to make spending cuts.
Pullman - the children's fiction writer best known for the His Dark Materials series - described the libraries closures as "political bullshit" in October and claimed the protests were a "war against stupidy".