LOSING a judicial review into plans to close libraries and cut back services cost Somerset County Council more than £200,000, the authority has revealed.

The council had proposed reducing hours at some of its libraries and relying on communities to run others to be run by communities, as well as cutting back its mobile library service.

However, following a legal challenge by pro-library campaigners, the council has revealed it had to pay the £130,000 costs of their opponents in court as well as its own £72,000 legal bill.

Libraries chief David Hall said: "The court case was one of the first legal challenges in the country faced by a council attempting to pass over the management of some library services to the local community.

"Since that ruling, several councils in England have done this same thing very successfully. It is now becoming widely accepted that communities can play a direct role in running libraries.

"We would much rather have not had to spend £200,000 in legal costs and instead spent that money on frontline services, including the delivery of a sustainable future for the library service in Somerset.”