Brent Council in the Dock – day 3

As promised, here is a update on day 3 of the hearing which ended yesterday. You can read it on the BBC, or even the Belfast Telegraph.  Here is a fuller account of the arguments, courtesy of Benedicte Page at the Bookseller:

Judgement in the judicial review into Brent council’s proposed library closures may be given in August, the judge Mr Justice Ouseley said yesterday (21st July), on the concluding day of the High Court proceeding.

Earlier Elizabeth Laing QC, representing the council, had countered the argument made by the claimants’ lawyers that Brent had “closed its mind” to alternative proposals made by community groups for the running of the six libraries proposed for closure. Laing told the court correspondence between interested parties and the council showed “engagement between officers and groups on this process” and that proposals to run the service were assessed by officers in accordance with published criteria—”a robust, viable business case at no cost to the council.” But the proposals made had been “unrealistic”, the court heard.

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Brent Council in the Dock – Day 2 cont…

We’re actually coming to the end of day 3 now, the final day of the hearing. I will post an round up what happened today later on.

But in the meantime, you might be interested to hear what happened yesterday, on day 2 when we finished our bit and Brent began their defence.

Save Kensal Rise Library did an excellent write up on their site:

…for many watching, it was the arguments made about Brent’s inadequate consultation process and the failure to properly consider community proposals that really hit home, and some of these arguments seem to have resonated with the judge…

As did the venerable Elaine from ‘I spy in Queens Park’.

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Brent Council in the Dock – Day 2

It’s day 2 and Brent Council have begun their defence. The hearing will continue tomorrow at the same times to allow us to respond to their defence. It was a full house again today, as dedicated campaigners from all over Brent came to hear what the Council has to say for itself. Both and the were in attendence – though the big story will be when the verdict is announced. There were scurrilous rumours that the verdict would come tonight, which we promptly scotched. The hearing won’t be done till tomorrow so a verdict today would be very premature. It’s most likely to come next week.

For a fuller account of yesterday’s hearing, see Elaine’s account in her I Spy in Queens Park blog here:

A large group of Save our Six supporters rallied by the Strand entrance to the Court from 9am onwards, with banners and the eye-catching red t-shirts.

Once inside there was a slightly surreal moment as there was a previous application about whether a woman had been illegally detained under immigration legislation once a medical examination had revealed scars on her inner thighs which were diagnostic of her having been tortured (in the country from which she’d fled). One hard-of-hearing library supporter, after listening for about 20 minutes, asked “Is this the application against Brent council?”

Meanwhile the public gallery was being dusted down (literally) and given a quick squirt of furniture polish to make space for the 60 or so SOS supporters who couldn’t all fit in to the main part of the court.

I Spy in Queens Park

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Brent Council in the Dock: Day 1

Despite Murdoch’s best efforts to monopolise the media, our legal challenge was  featured in national, London and local media, with more to come…

Besides our good friends at Wembley & Brent Times and the Wembley Observer,  we were in (deep breath)….

The London Evening Standard ITV London Tonight The Daily Mail The Independent BBC The Guardian

Metro London 24Bearsden Herald


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Protestors force deferral of decision to sell Preston Library


Brent Council tonight dramatically withdrew proposals to dispose of half of its library properties in an eleventh-hour U-turn the night before it was due to defend its actions in the High Court.

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