Campaigners set to find out the fate of libraries

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CAMPAIGNERS fighting cuts to Doncaster libraries expect to find out today whether they have won their legal challenge.

A judge at Leeds Combined Court is expected to announce whether the mayor of Doncaster was breaking the law when he refused to implement a Doncaster Council vote which would have seen £380,000 put into keeping Carcroft and Denaby libraries open, and would have paid for a member of staff at each of the 12 community-run facilities.

The action is being taken by Public Interest Lawyers, on behalf of disabled resident Carol Buck, who has been left unable to visit her local library due to the closures.

Doug Wright, from campaign group Save Doncaster Libraries, said it was an important and wide-ranging decision.

He said: “We don’t believe the volunteer-run library system will work in the long run. It may work in the affluent areas, but in other parts we don’t think it is a goer. I am hopeful about today. I think Denaby and Carcroft have been battered enough.”

Fellow campaigner Lynne Coppendale said: “The case would not have been heard in the first place if a judge had not thought there may be one.”

Doncaster Council says it is confident the mayor acted properly and in accordance with legal advice received, and that the decisions taken will be successfully defended.

David Wolfe QC told the court the mayor had ‘set his face’ against the amendment from the very beginning.

“He’s decided at the very outset not to draw down the money come what may,” he said.

Nigel Giffin QC, representing Doncaster Council and the mayor, said the full council did not have power to give directions to the executive about how to perform its role.

“The council sets the budget and the mayor decides how to spend it,” said Mr Giffin.