£5 for legal fight against Brent Council

Brent decision to close six libraries – campaigners mount legal challenge!
Library campaigners are asking everyone to donate £5 if they can afford it as the Legal Services Commission requires a ‘community contribution’ of £30,000 towards the costs. Each of the library groups has pledged to raise a contribution.
Despite huge public opposition, anger at public meetings, events opposing the closures, schoolchildren delivering letters, Brent’s Youth Parliament and their concerns about the  denial of opportunity to learn and study, Brent is pressing ahead with its decision to close all six of its twelve libraries, Cricklewood, Kensal Rise, Barham Park, Tokyngton, Preston and Neasden. 
The Council’s decision-making on the closure proposals is riddled with legal errors.
 In summary taken from the letter before action:
  1.   a fair-minded and informed observer, having full regard to the facts, would conclude that there was a real possibility of predetermination by the decision-makers that these closure proposals should go ahead (indeed that there was no alternative) which, in turn, meant the results of the consultation exercise were not taken into account conscientiously and with open minds on 11 April 2011;
  2. insufficient information was gathered to enable the decision- makers to take into account mandatory relevant considerations at the appropriate time, particularly in relation to questions of need for library services and equality;
  3. some consultation responses were not made known to members, significant errors of fact were made in the consultation document and officers’ reports and irrational conclusions drawn;
  4. the Council misdirected itself on the means by which its duty to provide a library service could be discharged; and
  5. those who had made alternative proposals were not dealt with fairly.
Unless Brent Council backs down the legal process is expected to proceed by way of a judicial review of the council's decision. 
John Halford of Bindmans is acting for the campaigners of the threatened libraries. He is a human rights and public law department partner who acts for individuals and groups to challenge abuse of power, human rights breaches and discrimination. He has experience of bringing cases against a wide range of public bodies and organisations, and of advising national charities, NGOs, campaigning groups and regulators. In 2007 he won the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Award for social and welfare law.

 Campaigning groups for the six libraries have formed an umbrella group, Brent SOS Libraries; Save Our Six Libraries. They have agreed to raise funds for the judicial review of the council’s decision. The Legal Services Commission requires a ‘community contribution’ of £30,000 towards the costs. Each of the library groups has pledged to raise a contribution.
Library campaigners are asking everyone to donate £5 if they can afford it. Campaigners are hopeful that the money will be raised quickly.
 Information about how to make donations can be found on the website www.brentsoslibraries.org.uk 
The Labour Brent Council tried to close libraries in 1988. Local communities resisted and saved their libraries from closure. The spirit lives on and library campaigners are again determined to carry on fighting to save the libraries. 
They agree with local Labour Party members that this is a ‘toxic issue’ for the Labour Party and that the decision has alienated local party members as well as Brent voters generally.
They have vowed to ensure that councillors that have voted for these closures will never be forgotten for their cultural vandalising of communities.
 David Butcher from Kensal Rise speaking on behalf of the Brent SOS Library Campaign said: “Thousands of people across the whole of Brent are supporting the campaign to save the local community libraries of Barham, Cricklewood, Kensal Rise, Neasden, Preston and Tokyngton. While Councillors Ann John and Powney are using the resources of Brent Council to force through the closures, local people are determined to fight their closure plans all the way”.

For further information contact: 
Margaret Bailey Co- Chair: Save Kensal Rise Library Campaign 0781 3572468
David Butcher Co-Chair: Save Kensal Rise Library Campaign 0781 1277587
Save Kensal Rise Library facebook group 

Upcoming fundraising events: 
Tales from Paradise... 
Alan Bennett Fundraising Event 
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