Carol Buck expresses her disappointment over the closure of some libraries in Doncaster.

Library
Closed down: Some of Doncaster's libraries Photo: Calendar

A wheelchair-bound campaigner has said she was "disappointed" after a judge rejected her legal challenge against the elected mayor of Doncaster who overruled a council's decision to save the town's libraries.

Carol Buck has been left unable to visit her local library after the mayor of Doncaster, Peter Davies, closed two facilities and made cuts to 12 more. Two thirds of councillors voted in favour of an amendment to allocate funding to the libraries but Mr Davies refused to change his decision.

A judicial review into the decision was launched at Leeds Combined Court Centre last month. But Mr Justice Hickinbottom dismissed the application on Wednesday. The judge said he appreciated the library closure will "adversely affect" Ms Buck.

But he said: "I can only interfere if the mayor and his executive cabinet have acted unlawfully in the action they have taken. For the reasons I've given, I'm quite satisfied that they have not. In my judgment they have exercised their functions properly and lawfully and for these reasons I dismiss this application."

A hearing last week heard how the decision about the libraries was made by Mr Davies and his executive in November last year. It was then raised as a key issue during council budget meetings.

The full council voted on an amendment to Mr Davies' proposal to allocate some of the budget to help put paid staff into the affected libraries. The vote saw 43 councillors wanting to include the amendment, with six councillors voting against and three abstaining.

But English Democrat Mr Davies said he was not going to change the budget and the 14 libraries would continue to close or be transferred to community volunteers.

"I am of course pleased with the outcome. This was never a decision that was taken lightly but it was necessary in order to make the required savings. Over 300 volunteers have signed up and pledged their time to volunteer in our libraries for free and keep them open for the communities. I am delighted with the success they have become. This case should never have been taken to court and I am furious that this has now cost the taxpayers of Doncaster over £30,000. At a time of cutbacks, this is money that could have helped to save jobs."

– Peter Davies - Mayor of Doncaster