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High Court rejects Lincoln libraries challenge

Library campaigners in Lincoln, 2013

An appeal to the High Court for a judicial review into Lincolnshire County Council’s plan to cut the number of libraries from 45 to 15 has failed.

After a week long hearing, a High Court judge dismissed the legal challenge on all grounds.

"We're delighted with the judge's decision.

"However, it's disappointing that at least £350,000 has had to be wasted defending plans that are clearly best for taxpayers, best for library users and best for local communities.

"The delays caused by the legal action have also led to Lincolnshire Co-op withdrawing its bid for Boultham Library, meaning this site is now likely to close.

"Hopefully, the campaigners will now see their actions are only having a negative effect on services, and they are doing anything but save Lincolnshire libraries.

"Now we have cleared this hurdle, we can concentrate on putting the new-look service in place – something that will ensure the future of local libraries.

"We're working closely with local groups to get the new community hubs up-and-running, and have a few that are ready to go-live in the next few weeks, the rest will then follow over the summer months in a phased approach. Everything should be in place by the end of September. "I'm sure these new facilities will be of real benefit to their local community."

– Cllr Nick Worth, Executive Member for Libraries, Lincolnshire County Council

Under the plans, the council will continue to provide 15 major libraries, along with online services and specialist support for those unable to reach their nearest library because of, for instance, disability, age or ill health.

These will be complemented by around 30 community hubs, including library services, developed in partnership with local community groups who will also be given over £5,000 per year towards their running costs and access to a one-off grant of up to £15,000 for changes to buildings or equipment.

In addition, the authority is undertaking a competitive procurement to seek an external organisation to potentially deliver library services on its behalf, including the support for the community hubs. This follows an approach by Greenwich Leisure Limited, a not-for-profit organisation interested in running local libraries.

Because of the work involved in a competitive procurement, it is likely to take until the end of 2015 before a final decision is reached on who will run the service.


Police appeal for help to find missing Lincoln man

Police are appealing for help to find a 21-year-old man who is missing from Lincoln.

Connor Lewis Ryan

Connor Lewis Ryan was last seen by his Grandmother in the town on Tuesday 21st July.

He is described as white, 5ft 9in in height, of slim build with short dark hair. It is not known what he was wearing at the time.

Connor’s family are worried about his welfare and would like to hear from him to know that he is okay.

EDL set to march through Lincoln

A Lincolnshire English Defence League group is planning an anti-Islam demonstration in Lincoln later today.

Organisers say the 'no to Islam' demonstration is in protest against the construction of a £1.5million Lincoln mosque.

A similar protest happened in Sheffield earlier this month.

Lincoln Against Racism and Fascism is planning to hold a counter-demonstration.

Three men jailed for supplying teenager with ecstasy

Three men have been jailed for a total of six years for being involved in supplying drugs - after a student in Lincoln died having taken MDMA, more commonly known as ecstasy.

Ashley Hughes, who was 19, died in December last year.

Today his family described him as a promising student who had his whole life ahead of him and say he was a victim of peer pressure.

From Lincoln Crown Court, Kate Hemingway reports.

Tourism on the up in Lincolnshire according to new figures

Tourism is on the up in Lincolnshire, bringing billion-pound benefits to the county's economy, according to new figures.

The value of tourism increased by six percent from £1.2 billion to £1.3 billion. One of the most succesful areas was Lincoln.

Last year more than one and a half million people visited the City, which Lydia Rusling from the City's Council says shows its potential.


Mental health experts call for change in attitudes

Mental health experts in Lincoln are calling for a change of attitudes on Disability Awareness Day. Representatives from SHINE say mental health issues should receive "parity of esteem" with physical health and that people who have severe depression, or who are bipolar or suffer psychosis, are as "disabled" as people who have a physical condition.

When someone talks about disability, people tend to think of them having a broken arm or leg, or having suffered a stroke or a life-changing heart attack. They don't see someone who is trying to recover from a nervous breakdown, coping with long-term depression, schizophrenia or psychosis in the same way, yet these conditions often last longer than a physical illness and they may require life-long medication.

– SHINE Director Charles Cooke
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