Campaigners trying to stop Moray Council closing almost half its libraries are to challenge the decision in the Court of Session.

The council's Independent and Tory administration voted to close seven of its 15 libraries and withdraw one of two mobile library vans as part of a £357,000 saving in the libraries service.

The council has a cuts target of £30 million over the next three years and already voted to cut its entire arts budget.

But following legal advice, the campaign group Save our Libraries Moray has decided to go to the Court of Session to seek a judicial review.

The SNP welcomed the news. Moray's MSP, Richard Lochhead, who is the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, said: "I have been inundated with messages about the decision taken by Moray's Independent and Tory Councillors and I strongly believe that they have taken the wrong decision and it will have a completely disproportionate impact.

"The SNP is fully behind the library campaigners and believe the council must think again. The council's administration should now reconsider their wrong decision to close seven libraries, which has been roundly condemned by local communities, prominent authors and many others. They should accept they are wrong and back down rather than taking further financial and reputational damage by fighting this court challenge."

But Allan Wright, leader of Moray Council, said: "Naturally we will await the outcome of any judicial review, but let me remind people that we are in very straitened times, and some services such as care for the elderly, the vulnerable and schools have to be protected at the cost of others. This is what people told us.

"No authority can afford a Rolls Royce library service anymore."