Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Friern Barnet Library

Events have moved quickly this week on Friern Barnet library. The Library has been occupied since last week, though the occupiers were licensed by the council, and even shown Friary House as an alternative place to run a volunteer library. Instead of going to the JHOSC on Monday, I went to a meeting between the council officers and community groups in the library. It was an interesting chat, as the officers basically said they would only offer us Friary House in Friary Park. It isn't a good offer. The room they offered is being used by the Barnet Asian Women's Association as a prayer room, and the only free room in the house is the mezzanine floor, which was not taken up by the safer neighborhood team. It isn't disabled access either. I was also there on Thursday when the BBC came to do interviews.

It now seems that the Council have  served them with an eviction notice, probably in the assumption that if things don't go well they can chuck them out.But who knows? These are the people who left the library unlocked, with the keys on the table and the heating on full! no blinds or shutters either.

What is also galling is that it was closed down on the basis of cost, but in reality the risible replacement in Tally Ho currently costs £34,000, the security at FBL cost hundreds of pounds a day, which is hardly value for money compared the running a library at FBL for £110,000 a year

There is another meeting this Monday, but I don't know what it will achieve, if the council are only interested in flogging Friary House, which no on wants.