A HIGH court injunction has been slapped on Gloucestershire County Council halting library closures.

Lawyers obtained the injunction as part of the judicial review case being brought on behalf of a county library user opposing the cuts. A petition was started after it was revealed that 10 libraries in the Cheltenham area were set to close, with Bourton, Moreton, Chipping Campden and Winchcombe libraries also being earmarked for reduced services.

Chairman of Moreton Town Council Rod Hooper said he agreed with the campaign to stop the cuts.

He said: “We object strongly to a reduction in opening hours at Moreton Library. Our library should be the largest in the area.

The way they are treating members of the library is a disgrace.”

The fight between campaigners and the county council has become acrimonious.

Gloucestershire County Council leader Mark Hawthorne said: “The council is not in any way surprised by this delay tactic. We were prepared for it. This is very frustrating for council taxpayers and community groups.

They are being forced into a costly legal process at a time when 20 communities have stepped forward with innovative and exciting business plans to take over their local facility.

“My message to them is that this is a short-term setback and we will continue to support them in developing successful community- run facilities.”

Leading campaigner Johanna Anderson said: “We wanted an independent review before the proposals were pushed through and warned the council several times that they would force an expensive legal challenge if they did not hold one. It is a pity that they can afford to fight this and not fund our libraries.”

She said the campaigners’ court costs were likely to be about £30,000 but contributions from the public were flowing in.

There were protests last November when the county council said it would withdraw funding from 10 branches as part of its £114 million spending cuts.