The Conservative leader of Lincolnshire County Council has blamed campaign group Save Lincs Libraries and the Labour party for wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of taxpayers money by persevering with a “disgraceful” legal challenge.
In an open letter sent to Lincolnshire residents via the media Councillor Martin Hill said:
“I am very pleased to hear the good news that the county council’s decision to modernise the library service, encourage volunteering and save money has been vindicated in the High Court.
“The unnecessary and politically-inspired legal challenge has been dismissed on all grounds.
“What is disappointing is that over £350k of taxpayers’ money has been wasted, voluntary groups frustrated and at least one library lost as a result of this action.
“We have also been forced to put the service out to tender.
“Our opponents have done their best to convince people that we are trying to close libraries. In fact, we are hoping to increase the number.
“The only obstacle has been the ironically-named Save Lincolnshire Libraries group and the Labour Party (not that anyone can tell the difference between the two!).
“Their actions have been a costly political exercise in making matters worse for library users, volunteers and staff.
“Disgracefully, they have used legal aid to pursue their agenda at taxpayers’ expense and, even more shockingly, a firm of lawyers who, in the past have donated back to the Labour Party. They have pushed the boundaries of ethical behaviour.
“And they have done this with complete disregard to the impact it has had on volunteers and staff, who I would like to thank for their patience and commitment through a difficult time.
“Hopefully, we can now draw a line under this matter and focus on providing a library that is both more sustainable and more appropriate for the 21st century.”