Shropshire Star 12th April

From the “Shropshire Star” 12th April

Row breaks out over Church Stretton Library move scheme

A row has broken out over controversial plans to stop a library from being moved to a nearby secondary school.

Supporters of Church Stretton Library have questioned Shropshire Council officials’ version of events since legal proceedings brought over plans to move the library to Church Stretton School were abandoned.

Members of Church Stretton Library Support Group say they have never been asked to take over the running of the library, as claimed by the council last week.

No-one from Shirehall was available to comment, but council officials have previously said the library can only remain at its current Church Street home if campaigners come up with a suitable proposal.

The library support group had mounted a legal challenge against the council’s decision to move the library that was due to be heard in the High Court last week.

But Shropshire Council withdrew its case shortly before proceedings were due to begin.

But Clive Wright, Shropshire Council’s chief executive, said the decision was taken because it meant the council would not face any court costs.

Michael Imperato, a solicitor for Andrew Williams who brought the legal action forward on behalf of Church Stretton Library Support Group, said: “We have concerns with the misleading account of events published on the Shropshire Council website and in subsequent media material regarding the Church Stretton Library Support Group’s campaign to keep the library in its current location.

“This is unhelpful and does the council little credit.

“On the day of the hearing, it was Shropshire Council that made an offer to concede, which we had then to consider, not Mr Williams or CSLSG.

“We were informed that the council made this offer after taking a pragmatic view to not incur significant legal costs and to avoid any risk that the case may go to appeal causing further delay.

“Until the day of the hearing, Shropshire Council had not invited Mr Williams or CSLSG to submit an expression of interest to run the library using the Localism Act 2011.

“We do not understand why the council has appeared to mislead the public as to the reasons for its decision to concede Mr Williams’ claim but we, nevertheless, remain keen to reach a positive resolution that keeps the library where it is.”



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