A LIBRARIES shake-up in Kirklees could face a legal challenge after a High Court ruling, campaigners have warned.
Kirklees Council wants to hand over seven village libraries to volunteers from April next year.
But a similar plan from Surrey County Council was yesterday ruled unlawful by the High Court in London.
Two local residents took their council to court and won a judgement which could have national implications.
Denby Dale-based libraries campaigner Biddy Fisher OBE said the High Court ruling created a “precedent” which Kirklees would ignore at its peril.
“The Surrey case is very similar to Kirklees and it has created a precedent, which is the important thing,” she said.
“It could open the door to a legal challenge in Kirklees and if there was any member of the community who wants to take this forward I would give them my absolute support.”
Mrs Fisher, a former president of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) awarded the OBE for her services to libraries, urged Kirklees to review their plans in light of the ruling.
She said: “It is not too late for the council to launch a proper and meaningful consultation with the public.
“No-one wants to see this go to court. All it takes is communication.”
Denby Dale, Shepley, Honley, Golcar, Slaithwaite, Lepton and Kirkheaton libraries are under threat from council cuts.
The council has pledged to keep the libraries open for another 12 months provided volunteers come forward to run them. The existing library staff would lose their jobs.
Mrs Fisher, a spokesman for the Friends of Denby Dale Library, accused the council of “cynical” tactics.
A Freedom of Information request revealed that the library threat was made in a report to the council’s Cabinet last July.