Update From Friends Of The IW Library Service

The Friends speak about their recent court case

This in from the Friends Of The IW Library Service, in their own words – Ed

High CourtIt is with much regret that we have to inform you that we were defeated in our application for a Judicial Review.

We are obviously very disappointed at the outcome of yesterday’s hearing. His Honour Judge Pearl was sympathetic but he refused to accept that the LSC delays had caused us to be 13 days out of time. His later comments saying that even if he gave us the time extension he would still have refused our JR were not quoted in full.

Equality Impact Assessments
What none of the comments have said is that on the aspect of the Equality Impact Assessments he felt that we had a very valid point.

The Judge applied the law as he saw it, and one should assume that a High Court Judge knows the law better than us mere mortals. He did comment that he felt the council had listened to the views of those who replied to the consultation because they had decided to save 4 of the original 9 that were earmarked for closure.

(Note the IWC QC stated that the 4 libraries were saved from closure in order to comply with Section 7 of the 194 Act – he specifically said “Saved” and not “Saved for the foreseeable future”. That should mean that Cowes, Sandown, Ventnor and Freshwater should be safe when the council next look for services to cut).

Top QC
We were very surprised when we arrived at court to see that the IW Council who had claimed that they had no case to answer had in fact, employed the services of one of the top QCs in the country, plus a second barrister and a lawyer, we in turn had one barrister being funded by very limited means from legal aid. Not exactly a level playing field.

However we feel we must comment that the efforts made by the solicitors of Leigh Day and Co and the extremely impressive performance by our barrister, who spent well over an hour pleading our case, were brilliant. We must add that much of the work done by the solicitors was not charged for, particularly during the period when legal aid was cancelled.

Thanks for the support
We would like to thank all those who have supported us over these past months and for all the work done by those who sent us letters, emails, and submissions. Also the statements from residents submitted as evidence that the councils proposals were totally flawed. Unfortunately much of your efforts may never be heard in open court, however, all the original material is still with the DCMS and if enough of the other cases are successful, the Secretary of State may still be forced to intervene. If this is the case, you will all be the first to know.

The community groups, in particular Brighstone and Bembridge have been 100% behind us, having stated the same belief that drives us – libraries should be run by the IW Council with a paid member of staff for each library, supplemented by volunteers.

Despite adverse comments made in the media, we are not and never have been anti-volunteer and congratulate those who are prepared to take on the job and its associated onerous commitments.

Greater burden
As result of the refusal of a judicial review there will be more responsibility and financial burden than was necessary placed upon local residents who have formed the steering groups. However, in the words of the council “they do not seek to rely on communities to run the libraries” they have never fully explained what the other alternative (closure) does to their statutory duty under the 1964 Act.

We were also saddened by the fact that before we had even got back to the Island, Cllr Abrahams was gloating, making statements that he was “delighted with the outcome” showing no thoughts for those loyal and dedicated library staff who, in some cases had given many years of service to the profession, whom he had forced to take totally unnecessary redundancy. Cllr Abrahams along with his other Tory friends in County Hall should hang their heads in shame.

We are very sad and sorry for failing all of you who have pinned your hopes on us. We have let you down and apologise for that.

Possible further action
Just as a final comment there are two things we are contemplating, the first is a formal complaint against the LSC for their bungled handling of our legal aid, the second is the possibility of taking the matter to appeal which we have been told is a genuine possibility if we can raise funding!

Grateful thanks to all

Dave, Serena & Heidi
Friends of the IW Library Service

Friday, 29th July, 2011 12:10pm

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Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight News

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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30 Comments on "Update From Friends Of The IW Library Service"

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Asite2c

Well done to everybody involved!

They may have won this case although it’s nothing the Council should be proud of, celebrate or gloat about as cuts to the libraries will probably be a major talking point at the next local election and be another nail in they’re coffin.

lilly

Well done for trying, right was on your side, the powers that be saw otherwise. No thanks to this Council for not listening to its constituents, and draining resources.

Loo Loo

It’s hard to believe after making cuts to libraries, public toilets, social, leisure and care facilities, arts and culture, fire brigade call out centre, TIC’s, schools, public transport, life guards and more, plus having a clueless leader out of depth and of wasting counil tax payers money the Tories will win the next local election having such a shocking record.

Mr Sandown Sally

I think they certainly made a lot of bad cuts choices, they don’t deserve to be elected again.

What has actually been achieved for the island by the Tories these past five years?

Asite2c
They have to go into the next election campaign with a record of cuts, breaking their manifesto pledges, an impression of not telling the truth, shiftiness and a sense of being uncaring. The opposition parties and Independents have a huge amount of material to campaign and canvas with between now and the next local election. A campaign needs to be launched, that reminds the electorate over the… Read more »
No.5
it hasn’t made much difference in elections up to now…apart from 1 reversal and even that was on an absolute tiny difference…the Tories have won local elections where they held power….don’t be fooled into thinking everybody on the Island reads VB…most don’t and most beleive the council is instigating cuts by central government blamed on the last government…you have a few years to change that and posting… Read more »
Asite2c
I’m not being fooled by comments on VB N0.5 although there is a lot of anger and dismay on the Island towards the Council at the moment. I think it is much to early to start predicting the election result. If things go badly wrong for the Government over the next 18 months, this could also be reflected in the next IOW election result. The Tories haven’t… Read more »
No.5

I agree they could do it…but very much doubt they could or would work together

Loo Loo
If the oposition campaigned by offering the Island a radical change, more local democracy, a brighter future, open and proper leadership, less waste etc, these could be quite powerful weapons against a tired old Tory party. The Tory lot are looking stale these days, so a campaign that offers real change could prove effective in a local election campaign, just as it did in the 1997 UK… Read more »
spitandsawdust

By that time irreversible damage will have been done. Why should we have to vote for another rubbish party i.e. the Lib Dumbs? Wouldn’t it make more sense to vote for independents – there’s a really good one somewhere north of Ventnor who voted against cuts? Or vote Green Party?

BLUG
As we have already said Dave, none of you have anything to apologise for, you have all done a sterling job. It’s just at the end of the day the odds were stacked against you and the power of what should have been our libraries budget money succeeded only in costing this council even more money. If only they had listened to public opinion … then none… Read more »
Martin william wareham

If the public keep feeding The County Press it’s 75 pence it will keep printing this biased Tory Council crap starve it and it will go away.local papers are disappearing all over the country for various reasons you can all help the C.P.become one of them it’s your choice.

Len T
Further evidence that the CP are either plain lazy or a Tory propaganda sheet can be found in today’s County Hall story. It must have been written by the council, but the County Press just printed it word for word. There is not a critical question about how spending £4 million on this awful building at a time of cuts to services can be justified? They just… Read more »
rosie

having just contacted wiltshire libraries, they have saved their libraries by using volunteers, but not one has been forced to sign leases and be reponsible for the buildings, they also will have professional librarians going in to oversee the running of the libraries, the volunteers are not being left to do it all,
why is one county so different from another,

John

Really,a lot depends on the judge and how he feels about the two cases. Unfortunately,this judge appears to have had no feeling for the library users and their case and saw it as black and white only,coming down on the IW Council’s side.

John

I think Monster Raving Loony would be my preferred choice on the Island-they cannot be any worse than the Conservatives! However,Andrew Turner is a very good MP,pity about the local Government Conservatives on the Island!

No.5

have to disagree….AT is an awful MP

Out of touch theconmag

No5 A.T.is awfully good at claiming his expenses in the latest table he claimed nearly one hundred and twenty thousand pound.Hopefully he will soon have enough money and wont bother to stand again.

They-work-for-you

I think you’ll find most of that was his office staff, rent and rates. Shame really, it would be quite a scandal if that was just his actual second home rent and dining expenses.

cash4oldrope

I would like anybody to explain what AT has done for us in the last 12 months that is worth nearly £200,000

Cath
“We at BLUG were asked for a comment which we quickly supplied but, unsurprisingly, not a single word was used.” That’s odd because I’ve just read part of your statement online on the County Press website. It reads ‘Richard Beet from Bembridge Library Users Group (BLUG) said “We are more than disappointed to report that the judicial review has been rejected………etc etc’ So, not quite true what… Read more »
Loo Loo

Instead of continually picking holes in other people’s comments, why not try to offer something worthy of debate?

Cath

“Instead of continually picking holes in other people’s comments, why not try to offer something worthy of debate?”

Wow….pot, kettle, black?

rosie
as you say its online, but not in the paper, the county press have deliberately been biased on this and many other items regarding the council. they did not once mention the barrister representing the council , or that it was the councils choice to have one of the most expensive qcs in the country, not once have they mentioned that the campaigners constantly emailed and pleaded… Read more »
Asite2c

What a terrible legacy Pugh will be left with once he is no longer leader of the Council. He will be remembered and go down in IOW Council history as the worst, most unqualified, and unliked Council leader the IOW has ever known.

BLUG
Well spotted Cath. However, it wasn’t used in the print version, which is what we were basing our comments on, and which we are told is read by 90%(?) of islanders. I don’t think the same could be said of CP’s web site. But fair dos, at least some of it was included somewhere. We still are left with the problem of getting comments and stories into… Read more »
Cath

There was also three, albeit short, paragraphs in the paper with comments attributed to Dave Quigley. I don’t know if he is part of your group or not? I thought he was one of those bringing the action against the Council?

Sorry if that comment upsets Loo Loo again (see posts above), just pointing out a fact.

BLUG
Dave was speaking on behalf of Friends of the Isle of Wight Library Service who brought the legal action. They were his quotes for his organisation not for BLUG which is a community group wishing to save Bembridge Library. However we support the Friends objective of saving all threatened libraries on the island as do many of the other community groups. None of this detracts from the… Read more »
Loo Loo

Your comment does not upset me at all. It’s just a pity you prefer to condemn other peoples’s comments although seldom offer any alternative or sensible ideas.

B. Wright

Dave, Serena and Heidi

Don’t ever give up. The Undercliff Defence Committee’s Application for Judicial Review was refused and look what was hidden under the carpet!