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Library campaigners lose appeal

Campaigners fighting to save six "treasured" libraries have lost a Court of Appeal battle over the closure decision.

The latest blow for residents came as three judges rejected their challenge relating to libraries in Brent, north west London.

Lord Justice Pill, Lord Justice Richards and Lord Justice Davis had been urged to overturn the decision of a High Court judge who rejected the claims of the campaigners that the closure decision was "fundamentally flawed and unlawful".

However, the appeal judges ruled that the High Court judge, after a "most careful and thorough review of all the points advanced", had reached the "right conclusions".

Local residents fighting the cuts are being backed by celebrities including author Philip Pullman, playwright Alan Bennett, singer Nick Cave and bands Depeche Mode, the Pet Shop Boys and Goldfrapp.

The six libraries at the centre of the case are Kensal Rise, Barham Park and Preston Road and libraries at Neasden, Cricklewood and Tokyngton.

Brent Council said the closures will help to fund improvements to its remaining library service and contribute towards the £104 million of savings it needs to make.

The campaigners accused the council of failing to comply with its statutory duties when it decided in April to close half of its libraries while promising to provide "fewer, but better resourced, libraries".

Lord Justice Pill said: "Given the scale of the spending reductions the council was required to make, and the information available following earlier studies, a decision that the library service should bear a share of the reduction was not, in my judgment, unlawful."

He ruled that there was "no breach of duty in this case".

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