May 11 2011 By Tara Brady
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CAMPAIGNERS are asking generous members of the public to donate just £5 to help fund legal action against Brent Council over its decision to close six libraries.
A new umbrella group, called Brent SOS Libraries, has been set up to represent all six reading rooms which will shut its doors for good this year.
The determined campaigners say they need at least £30,000 to take their case to the High Court for a judicial review.
They believe the council did not consider alternatives to closing the libraries, that it did not assess community needs or the impact, made mistakes about facts it presented to the public, misunderstood its legal duty to provide a library service and acted unfairly and therefore unlawfully.
Without the financial support of the community the case cannot be taken forward.
Speaking on behalf of Brent SOS Libraries, David Butcher said: "Thousands of people across the whole of Brent are supporting the campaign to save the local community libraries.
"While Councillors Ann John, leader of Brent Council, and James Powney, responsible for libraries, are using resources of Brent Council to force through the closures, local people are determined to fight their closure plans all the way."
Campaigner Margaret Bailey, who is manager of Kensal Green Under Fives Community Nursery, said: "The families, children and staff of this nursery know how important it is to have access to a local library. We are all pledging £5 for the legal fund. A small price to pay to safeguard access to learning for all of our community."
Law firm, Bindmans LLP, is acting on behalf of the campaign group.
A letter was sent from the solicitors to the council on Friday (May 6) informing it of the legal challenge.
A council spokesman said: "The council has very recently received a letter from solicitors acting for two Brent library users in which they set out their intention to challenge the decision by the council to transform the library service.
"The council is currently considering its response but is confident that the decision was properly and lawfully made and that there is no basis on which a legal challenge can be brought."
Barham Park, Preston Road, Cricklewood, Kensal Rise, Neasden and Tokyngton libraries have all been earmarked to shut.
Eighty two per cent of people who took part in the council's 'Libraries Transformation Project' consultation oppose their closures.
Information about how to make donations can be found on the website www.brentsoslibraries.org.uk