Labour-run Brent Council has run up legal costs of over £70,000 defending its decision to close six of Brent’s twelve libraries, according to figures released to the Liberal Democrats by the council.
The costs are a result of Labour councillors’ determination to force through the closure of Barham Park, Cricklewood, Kensal Rise, Neasden, Preston and Tokyngton libraries in the face of massive public opposition – which led to the council being taken to court by local library campaigners.
Brent Liberal Democrat Leader Paul Lorber, who is a big supporter of local libraries and who recently ran in the Brent Fun Run to highlight the Brent SOS Libraries campaign, said:
This giant lawyer’s bill could have been avoided if Labour Leader Ann John and her followers had been prepared to sit down and discuss working in partnership with the local community.
If this money had been spent on libraries rather than lawyers it could have funded three-years worth of new books for a threatened library. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
The Liberal Democrats are demanding that no more money should be wasted on legal fees and that the council should sit down with local residents to discuss how the six threatened libraries can be saved for the benefit of local children and the rest of the community.