THE future of Gloucestershire’s libraries remains in the balance after a legal challenge to the County Council’s plans to overhaul the library service was rejected.

Last month, the Liberal Democrat group on Gloucestershire County Council launched a legal challenge – called a ‘call-in’ – in a bid to the council’s planned library cuts.

However, a spokesman from GCC said the council’s Overview Scrutiny Management Committee had decided not to review the plans.

“The committee did not accept the call-in and found no grounds to overturn the decision taken,” she said. “Therefore the decision stands and will be implemented.”

A spokesman from Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries, a group which has been fighting to save the county’s library service said they were “disappointed but not surprised” by the decision.

“The whole library review has been a serious case of deja vu in which Gloucestershire County Council has failed to demonstrate that they have learnt any lessons from their court defeat in November 2011 when a high court judge ruled them to be guilty of "bad government,” she said.

She added the council had failed to respond to questions raised in the call-in, saying: “GCC changed the criteria, with no consultation, in order to exclude three libraries from statutory provision – they have repeatedly failed to provide any explanation for this.

“The fact also remains that the elderly, especially women, are going to be particularly affected by the cuts.

“The Council has no realistic strategy in place to mitigate the extent of the impact upon this particular section of society.

“It is always disappointing to see political one-up-manship, being put before the interests of the public.

“Sensible, respectful and thorough scrutiny of these draconian cuts, cuts which are going to affect so many people in Gloucestershire, has never been allowed under the current administration."