Thursday 29 December 2011

Police protect Council as it seizes library stock

The following was posted by Jessica Thompson of the Willesden and Wembley Observer at 11am this morning. When I visited the library this afternoon there was no one outside and the gate in the hoardings was closed.

PROTESTERS who have fought tooth and nail in a bid to save 50 per cent of Brent's libraries are being held back by police today as council workers begin clearing books.

Around ten members of the Brent SOS campaign group are gathered outside Preston Library and have no choice but to stand and watch as staff begin emptying the building.

Preston Library is one of six in the borough to close, due to Brent Council cost cutting measures.
The campaigners say the council should not be clearing the library as they have started legal proceedings to take the case to the Supreme Court.

Around seven police officers are at the building to prevent a breach of the peace, and campaigners say they have been moved as they tried to stop council vehicles from entering or leaving the site to remove its books and contents.

Campaigner Samantha Warrington said: "We have put an application in to the Supreme Court so while that is happening Brent should not be taking any further action to decommission the libraries.

"We are trying to obstruct the way but the police are moving us. I feel that Brent Council is showing contempt to the legal process and the community who have shown how much they need their local library by doing this."

A Brent Council spokesperson said: "On 19 December the Court of Appeal found unequivocally in favour of Brent Council. All three judges in the Court of Appeal agreed that Mr Justice Ouseley's decision was correct and that Brent had made a lawful decision in closing six libraries. The Court of Appeal refused to give the campaigners leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. In spite of this the protester's have approached the Supreme Court directly for leave to appeal.

"As a result, there is no injunction against the council to restrict implementing our library transformation plans, which has already delivered a service that is open seven days a week. The closed libraries are now being emptied of stock and equipment to allow it to be reallocated to Brent libraries for the use of all residents."

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