The Court of Appeal has found unequivocally in favour of Brent Council over a plan to close a number of libraries.
All three Judges in the Court of Appeal agreed that Brent had made a lawful decision in closing six libraries. The claimants’ appeal was dismissed.
The council says the six libraries identified for closure are in unsuitable locations and badly in need of expensive and unaffordable repairs. The closures will help fund improvements to the remaining library service and contribute towards £104 million of savings the council needs to make.
The claimants, Brent residents, had challenged the council on its compliance with equality duties. Lord Justice Davies commented: “I consider that an air of unreality has descended over this particular line of attack. Councils cannot be expected to speculate on or to investigate or to explore such matters ad infinitum”.
Lord Justice Pill commented on the decision process the council undertook, observing: “The decision as to which libraries to close was carefully considered by the council. The quotations I have made from very detailed Reports serve to demonstrate that. Cogent reasons were given in the Reports for the decisions taken, and the factors to be taken into consideration.”
Cllr Ann John, OBE, Leader of Brent Council said: “We are pleased that the court of appeal found unanimously in the council’s favour. We will now be able to begin implementing the improvement plan that will deliver a better library service for the people of Brent.”