Plans to derail cuts to libraries has failed

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Impassioned speeches opposing library cuts flew thick and fast during Friday’s County Council meeting but narrowly failed to avert the closures currently planned.

Councillors Stephen Palmer and John Hough raised motions against proposals to shut 30 Lincolnshire libraries, both of which were effectively defeated by amendments.

Alford and Sutton on Sea’s Coun Palmer said the proposals would be ‘terminal’ to library services and called for democracy to be heard.

Questioning the legitimacy of entrusting the council’s nine executive members with such an important decision, he likened the situation to The Lord of the Rings in which power was divided between nine magical rings.

“Is it not ironic that there were nine rings to bind them and into the darkness lead them?” he asked.

His motion calling for nonexecutive councillors to be included in December’s final vote, however, was amended so that although they could participate in the debate, the executive would decide. Coun Hough’s motion to ‘rethink’ the cuts was weakened so that the executive need only take ‘due account’ of the feedback.

Further appeals came from library campaigners who presented four petitions signed by more than 25,000 people calling for the closures to be scrapped.

Sutton on Sea campaigner Patti Marson suggested the cuts had been made ‘with no reference to community needs but solely on a cost saving basis’ dismissing the offer of a fortnightly mobile visit as ‘frankly ludicrous’.

Coun Nick Worth, executive member for libraries, speaking later, said nonexecutive councillors could take part in a meeting before a final decision is taken in December.

He also encouraged people to take part in the library consultation which runs until September 30.