Somerset libraries legal challenge costs council £70,000

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A judicial review into a decision to withdraw funding for 11 libraries in Somerset cost more than £70,000.

Somerset County Council said it spent £25,000 on internal solicitors' fees and £44,000 on external counsel.

Some £2,500 was also spent on travel and accommodation for people attending legal hearings.

The Conservative-led authority has now cancelled plans to cut £1.35m from its library budget and plans to review the service over the next 18 months.

Somerset County Council will also have to pay the other side's legal costs and is waiting to hear how much this figure will be.

A decision at the High Court in November found the cuts did not comply with "public sector equality duties" owed to vulnerable social groups.

Eleven libraries in the county will now keep their funding, four mobile libraries will be reinstated and there will be longer opening hours at 23 libraries.

Also, about £600,000 will be spent by the authority on self-service technology at some of the county's busiest libraries.

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