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Campaigners claim victory as Highgate Library relocation plan dropped

PUBLISHED: 15:26 11 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:26 12 September 2017

Jacksons Lane Arts Centre has pulled out of its plans to relocate Highgate Library. Picture: Jon King

Jacksons Lane Arts Centre has pulled out of its plans to relocate Highgate Library. Picture: Jon King

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Campaigners are celebrating after a theatre announced it has abandoned plans to relocate Highgate Library.

Supporters of Highgate Library after a Haringey Council cabinet meeting to discuss an Supporters of Highgate Library after a Haringey Council cabinet meeting to discuss an "in principle" decision to sell the 110-year-old building and relocate the service to Jacksons Lane arts venue. Picture: JON KING

In April Haringey Council announced Jacksons Lane Arts Centre had approached councillors and the Highgate Library Action Group (HLAG) proposing to house the service in a bid to secure Arts Council England funding.

Following the announcement opponents of the move organised a petition – signed by 1,565 supporters – a series of public meetings and protests to keep the 110-year-old library in its Shepherd’s Hill home.

But today Jacksons Lane announced the proposals “will not now be taken forward” after a feasibility study showed the estimated take from selling the existing library site would not cover the costs of creating the new library with the resulting loss of space potentially denting Jacksons Lane’s profits.

Susan Chinn, chair of the library support group HLAG, said: “I’m absolutely delighted. We checked out the plan. Everything was done properly and the right decision was reached. It is best for the library to stay where it is. I feel a great sense of relief.”

Supporters of Highgate Library challenged Jacksons Lane managers after viewing relocation plans for the first time back in June. Picture: Jon King Supporters of Highgate Library challenged Jacksons Lane managers after viewing relocation plans for the first time back in June. Picture: Jon King

Campaigner Tamara Cincik from the Friends of Highgate Library said: “This is a victory for the campaign. It’s a dream come true. I hope this means we can now focus on the library and give it the love and attention it needs.”

Council leader Cllr Claire Kober said: “We always welcome innovative suggestions for making the most of Haringey’s fantastic assets, which is why we were happy to consider relocating Highgate Library to Jacksons Lane – which had the potential to create an exciting new cultural hub.

“We’re happy to commit to supporting Jacksons Lane and look forward to continuing to work with them to to build on Haringey’s arts scene,” she added.

A Haringey Council spokeswoman said: “We were always clear that the relocation of Highgate Library would only go ahead if the feasibility study showed it to be a viable option.

The Friends of Highgate Library meet to coordinate their campaign in June. Picture: Tamara Cincik The Friends of Highgate Library meet to coordinate their campaign in June. Picture: Tamara Cincik

“We are making improvements to all of our libraries. However, we’ve been clear that without relocation and a capital receipt from selling the existing library site, no additional funding will be available for significant improvements to or investment in Highgate Library, she added.

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