A FRESH consultation into new plans for Gloucestershire’s library service is likely to start in January.

GCC will be speaking to parish and town councils, community groups and library users to get feedback on new draft plans after the previous proposals were quashed by a judge last month.

However, GCC is already receiving criticism for declining an invitation to an open meeting hosted by campaign group Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries.

Responding to the invitation, council leader Mark Hawthorne said: "While we appreciate the invitation to attend this meeting, this is premature, as I have already highlighted there are no plans to discuss at the moment.

"However, once our draft plans are ready, we will be happy to answer any questions people have as part of our public consultation."

The details of the draft library plans will be revealed at the cabinet meeting on January 20 with a six-week public consultation to start soon after.

Campaigner Johanna Anderson, of the Friends, said that GCC’s plan to reveal its new set of proposals in January ‘seemed very rushed.’ She also said the Friends had worked hard to organise the public meeting at a neutral venue and with a neutral chairman.

"We cannot understand why a meeting to be held only a month before this date could be deemed as 'premature'," she said.

"We feel that GCC is once again failing to engage with library users and it was that failure to listen which led the courts to declare the plans unlawful with a bill of £100,000 for the taxpayer."

The high court ruled that the previous proposals had not taken the impact on vulnerable people into account.

Cllr Hawthorne added that GCC has already started working with the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

FOGL's meeting starts at 7pm tonight, Wednesday, at Gloucestershire Association for Voluntary and Community Action at 75-81 Eastgate Street, Gloucester.