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Campaigners want clarity over future of Muswell Hill library

PUBLISHED: 07:30 23 December 2014

The future of Muswell Hill Library's home since 1931 is in question. Picture: Tony Gay

The future of Muswell Hill Library's home since 1931 is in question. Picture: Tony Gay

TONY GAY at tonephote@aol.com

Plans to relocate Muswell Hill library have come under fire after the council included the “well-used and popular” community resource in its budget cuts proposals.

The historic coat of arms above the entrance to Muswell Hill library. Picture: Tony GayThe historic coat of arms above the entrance to Muswell Hill library. Picture: Tony Gay

Opposition Liberal Democrat councillors and their MP Lynne Featherstone this week launched a petition criticising the lack of clarity over the future of the Grade II-listed building in Queen’s Avenue, after Haringey Council earmarked it for potential redevelopment and the library for possible relocation.

While the council says it is aware the library is a valued resource, it is considering moving it to an alternative high street location or creating “a new, purpose-built library” as part of the redevelopment of the site.

But there are no estimates given of timescales or potential gains or savings for the council, other than cutting one member of staff at the library by 2018.

Muswell Hill Lib-Dem councillor Gail Engert said: “I am very worried that the council’s budget papers imply that Labour has plans to use the library for a development without giving a firm commitment to keep a local library service in Muswell Hill.”

Not much has changed since Muswell Hill library opened in 1931.Not much has changed since Muswell Hill library opened in 1931.

But Cllr Jason Arthur, cabinet member for resources and culture, said the council has “no intention” of closing any libraries.

The budget document says the current premises are “not ideal” as it is “expensive to maintain” and access to the children’s library on the first floor is difficult for parents with buggies.

+ A month-long public consultation on the draft budget proposals is under way before finalised plans go before full council in February.

+ The consultation and a budget summary are available at www.haringey.gov.uk/strongerharingey and copies will also be available in local libraries.

Related links

+ Overview: Care homes and day centres bear brunt of £70million cuts proposed by Haringey Council
+ Haringey budget: Parking charges to rise and parks to be marketed to promoters
+ Care home and day centre cuts ‘like watching motorway pile-up in slow motion’
+ Haringey Council to cut £500,000 from Alexandra Palace subsidy
+ Links to the draft Medium Term Financial Strategy and details of proposed cuts/investments:

- Overview and context
- Children, young people and education
- Adult social care and health care
- Environment (inc parks and parking)
- Employment and the economy
- Housing
- Internal/corporate (inc libraries)
+ Is this the best way to help save £70million over the next three years? Get involved in the debate on Twitter @tottjournal, on our Facebook page or by emailing your views to stephen.moore@archant.co.uk.

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