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Library and Pool Campaigners set to take Council to court

Community members fighting to reopen six libraries and a swimming pool will file a judicial review 'early this week,' solicitors say

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Community members demonstrated outside an emergency council meeting in late March

Photo Credit: Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Community groups fighting to reopen Bucksburn Swimming Pool and six public libraries across Aberdeen are set to begin legal proceedings against Aberdeen City Council, who has come under fire after voting to shutter the facilities as part of budget cuts in March.

Campaigners are represented by solicitors from Govan Law Centre and RGU's Grampian Community Law Centre, who are anticipated to argue that the Council failed to properly assess the impact of closures on people with protected charateristics (such as age and disability) under the 2010 Equality Act.

As The Gaudie reported in early April, campaigners for Bucksburn Swimming Pool and the six libaries expressed concerns over a number of missing or cursory impact assessments by the Council.

In a statement, Hannah Moneagle, the Director & Principal Solicitor at Grampian Community Law Centre, told The Gaudie that legal action against the local authority was imminent.

"Early this week we will be lodging petitions for Judicial Review of Aberdeen City Council's decisions to close Bucksburn Swimming Pool and Woodside Library. This is on behalf of two clients. We anticipate being able to lodge further petitions in relation to the remaining 5 libraries later this week. This is on the back of pre-action letters sent to Aberdeen City Council alerting them to the prospect of litigation. We gave them until tomorrow (10 May 2023) at 12 noon to come back on these, but they advised they would be unable to do so.'

Moneagle added that concerns over the future of the library and pool buildings hastened the decision to begin legal proceedings. She said:

'As we have had no assurances from Aberdeen City Council or Sport Aberdeen that any of the buildings will be safeguarded in the meantime, we are moving quickly as there is a real fear of buildings being transferred or demolished, particularly as 5 of the 6 libraries are now listed on the community asset transfer list. We are simply not willing to take any risks which could result in the opportunity to save these buildings being lost.'

Solicitors may argue that the closures indirectly discrimminated against community residents with protected charateristics. As recent reporting by The Gaudie highlighted, a number of residents with disabilities or limited access to transportation have faced challenges in accessing in-person library services.

A Council spokesperson told The Gaudie: 'We are unable to comment on any ongoing legal action.'


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