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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.

  1. National

Kendall: Voters 'want something different' from Labour

Labour leadership candidate Liz Kendall has reiterated her determination to stay in the race despite calls for her to step aside.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Ms Kendall insisted she still believed she could win.

Liz Kendall takes part in a Labour Party leadership hustings in Cheshire Credit: PA Wire

"People want hope. They want something different. There are only two candidates setting out an alternative in this election from what we have been saying over the last five years, that is myself and Jeremy Corbyn."

She declined to say who her backers should vote for as a second preference in the contest, which is run under an Alternative Vote (AV) system.


Derbyshire: what do you think about policing?

Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Alan Charles, will be at the Royal Derby Hospital today to speak to people about their views on policing.

Credit: PA Wire

Derbyshire Constabulary and the Police and Crime Commissioner have launched a public consultation exercise designed to capture opinion on policing and community safety.

The Police and Crime Commissioner says getting first-hand accounts of people's views means local priorities can be discussed directly with the chief constable.

Check your voting details

Leicester City Council is reminding people to check their electoral register details and make sure whether the information that appears on the electoral register for people living at their address is correct.

The exercise is part of Leicester City Council’s annual voter registration canvass.

Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The council says households will be receiving a form to make sure the electoral register is up-to-date. It also says that it will mean people not yet registered to vote will be able to vote in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections taking place in May 2016.

  1. National

Summary: Key plans to help combat extremism

David Cameron has outlined plans to combat home-grown extremism which he said is "the struggle of our generation".

They include:

  • A new Extremism Bill which will contain "narrowly-targeted" powers to target extremist "facilitators and cult leaders" whose aim is to "groom young people and brainwash their minds.
  • The introduction of a scheme to enable parents to apply to have their children's passports removed if they suspect them of planning to travel abroad to join a radical group.
  • Tackling sectarian and communal segregation in schools
  • A new review to look into ways to boost opportunity and integration for minority groups.

The prime minister also called on Ofcom to clamp down on cable TV channels broadcasting extremist messages.

Universities should be ready to challenge extremist speakers on campus and broadcasters should use a wider range of speakers from Muslim communities, rather than repeatedly putting extreme voices on screen, he added.

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