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

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The library that refuses to die.

... As Friern Barnet Library is called.

The court proceedings were not pretty, and there is little cheer to take from the final verdict, as we thought.

However, the judge did accept that what was going on there was a coherent protest, and that there were Human Rights aspects. She did not accept in the balance the damage was to severe though, which is why she ruled as she did. There will be an appeal, and I think we can see the defence of that.

There was also a ruling that the occupation was a bias against other bidders, and that they would be put off by the occupation. The judge agreed with this, despite a categorical assurance that any bidder would be shown the site without hindrance. I was also confused by the ruling that having people sleep over in the building to secure its state was a breech of planning regulations, making it residential. Are the security guards in Church Farmhouse Museum who stay at night in breech?

What is does mean in the medium term is that the library will be open in the New Year, and that there will be 6 weeks of negotiations. There may even be a 6 month trial period, so the current form of the library might have some life left in it yet!

It would apparently take between 6 to 18 months to market and sell the site, but I am skeptical. I can't be sure there isn't someone round the corner waiting to snap it up, but let's see.

I would also say well done to Reema Patel, who did much of the legal work and instruction, and Sarah Sackman, the Barrister. Both were exceptional, and I hope they will be a double act again!