RESIDENTS campaigning to save Rhoose library from closure are to take legal action against the Vale Council.

The Save Rhoose Library campaign group believes there are significant flaws in the way the council has conducted consultation over the future of the library and are poised to challenge the authority in court.

The group has secured legal aid for a judicial review of the Vale of Glamorgan council’s actions and is preparing to challenge the council in the High Court.

Campaigners claim the consultation conducted as part of the council’s library strategy review was flawed and alternative ways of achieving budget savings were not adequately considered.

Under the council’s strategy review, councillors voted to close Rhoose library as part of a plan to fill a £32m budget challenge unless volunteers come forward to take over the library and run it as a community-funded service.

Campaigners say closing the library would significantly impact residents in Rhoose and neighbouring villages of Penmark and Fonmon, particularly local schoolchildren, elderly people and job seekers.

A support group was formed and more than 100 people, including schoolchildren, also attended a consultation meeting to demonstrate their opposition to the plans.

On National Library Day in February, children and residents made and delivered Valentine’s Day cards to the library showing their love and appreciation.

The Save Rhoose Library campaign group has now appointed one of Wales’ leading experts in Administrative and Public law, Michael Imperato of Watkins & Gunn Solicitors.

Michael Imperato has acted for individuals and campaign groups in a number of high profile judicial review cases against national and local government in Wales over the last few years.

Last year, he was successful in working with Rhydyfelin Library Support Group when Rhondda Cynon Taff Council made a u-turn decision to reopen Rhydyfelin library.

Mr Imperato has now secured legal aid funding to pursue a judicial review case against the Vale Council.

He said: “Many people now believe that everyone has access to the internet for information so that libraries are no longer as important as they used to be. This couldn’t be further from the truth. For some people, libraries are their only resource they have and, as a result, they should not be dismissed as a necessity to the community.

“The Save Rhoose Library campaign group have been fighting extremely hard to oppose the closure so securing legal aid to launch a judicial review is great news for the campaign.

“Not many people realise that you can challenge a local authority or government’s decision in courts through a judicial review case but they are an extremely important way of holding a public body to account. There have been many successful challenges to library closures against councils across the UK and we hope to have a positive result with this case.”

Adam Riley, a member of the Save Rhoose Library campaign, said: “The council has systematically failed to professionally and effectively engage local people in the consultation about the future of a service which is important to our community.

“If these plans go ahead it will have a significant effect on people of all ages - from the schoolchildren who use it for research on projects to adults who use the computer facilities to help with job searches and the elderly people for whom the library is a vital way of keeping connected to the village. The council’s disregard for the opinions of local people is shameful. We feel we have no choice but to challenge the council in the courts.”