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Concerns grow over Muswell Hill Library’s future

PUBLISHED: 12:00 10 June 2017

The Friends of Muswell Hill Library are afraid they may lose their beloved building. Picture: Jon King

The Friends of Muswell Hill Library are afraid they may lose their beloved building. Picture: Jon King

Archant

Suspicions a much-loved public library could be moved have led to anxiety for its supporters.

A development across the road from the library which supporters fear may be the venue's new home. A development across the road from the library which supporters fear may be the venue's new home.

Eyebrows were raised that Muswell Hill Library would be moved 400 feet from its Queen’s Avenue home when users noticed building work at the Pinnacle Building’s ground floor with workers telling them they believed the space was being prepared for a library.

Concerns grew again after the council approved a planning application to vary the previously approved scheme for a special school at the Pinnacle Building which they suspect would allow for the library’s relocation without further consultation.

Member of the Friends of Muswell Hill Library George Danker claims the council wants to profit from the library’s present listed building home by selling to developers, railroading through plans to move the service even though a public consultation between May and August last year saw 71 per cent of respondents object when a relocation proposal was first put forward.

“It would be highly lucrative to sell off the site. They’re facing financial challenges,” George said.

“I can understand where they are coming from. They have a lot of issues and funds have to come from somewhere. But it would have been relatively easy to upgrade the existing library.

“It doesn’t sound as if there’s going to be much of a debate about it. Do we make our case to a judidical review?” George said.

Fellow member Janet Shapiro said: “We’re all very anxious. We don’t know what decision is being made.”

Supporters fear the design, off-street location and upwards incline towards the Pinnacle site would see a fall in visitor numbers and result in a possible future closure.

A council spokeswoman confirmed an options appraisal applying to both sites would be published later this year, but added: “We support the essential role libraries play at the heart of our communities, which is why we have committed to maintaining and improving them across Haringey and ensuring they can flourish in the future.

“Following last year’s consultation, we have no current plans to relocate Muswell Hill Library.”

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