Search

Hamptead Garden Suburb fight in their thousands for Market Place library

16:00 01 July 2011

Residents protesting protesting over HGS Library  closure . They have support of all residents  groups, the church, synagogue, and 2500 signatures (almost half the suburb!) 
Pic of Residents outside the library with Deborah Warland ( in forground)

Residents protesting protesting over HGS Library closure . They have support of all residents groups, the church, synagogue, and 2500 signatures (almost half the suburb!) Pic of Residents outside the library with Deborah Warland ( in forground)

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Half of Hampstead Garden Suburb has thrown its weight behind a battle to save their beloved local library from the axe.

In just two months more than 2,500 people have signed a petition – a number which represents almost half of the 6,500 Suburb households – to save the 80 square foot library earmarked by Barnet Council for closure.

Deborah Warman, who is leading the SOS: Save Our Suburb Library campaign, describes the 60-year-old library as the “lynchpin” of Market Place and the suburb community as a whole.

She said: “One amazing thing about this library is that elderly people and mums with prams walk there, and on the way they stop into shops. We have become such a driving culture that this is a really rare thing. I have always been a huge reader and I like going into the library. The librarians give me tips now because they have got to know my taste – I meet up with other people there to exchange notes on books and swap recommendations. It’s hugely social.”

But Barnet has said that each person’s visit to the library costs the council £6.77 and it must close.

Neville Silver, 79, who has lived just 100 metres from the library for 50 years, has been crunching the numbers and disagrees. He argues that the library could cost Barnet just £50,000 a year to keep open – a drop in the ocean compared to the £1.4million they plan to save on libraries across the board.

The SOS campaign argues that the council has placed completely disproportionate management and stock costs on the tiny library.

Mr Silver added that £10,250 will still have to be paid annually as the council is tied into a lease until 2021.

Currently £67,000 is paid for two members of staff but SOS has offered to fill one of the spots with a rotating group of keen volunteers.

Mr Neville said: “The saddest thing is we can’t seem to get support from our own councillors – we get the feeling that they are more willing to toe the party line rather than support the views of their residents.

“It seems the Suburb library doesn’t fit in with Barnet’s grandiose idea of big libraries with huge facilities.”

Councillor Robert Rams, customer access and partnerships boss, said: “Our extensive library consultation is now closed and we’ll be considering all comments and petitions before making our final proposal to cabinet on July 26.”5

0 comments

Latest News Stories

10:25
Members of the Heath swimming associations outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Picture: Polly Hancock

The Heath and Hampstead Society has lost its High Court battle against the controversial £15million ponds project.

Sophia Parvizi Wayne and Amber Van Dam campaign for mental health classes to be made compulsory in all schools. Picture: Polly Hancock

Two schoolgirls fighting to have mental health taught as part of the national curriculum have succeeded in their campaign.

11 minutes ago
Lorraine Chase and Peter Egan with Ira Moss (left) from charity All Dogs Matter at Burgh House 23.11.14. with the cake donated by supporter Ricky Gervais.

It was a busy day for dog rescue charity All Dogs Matter on Sunday.

11 minutes ago
Hillcrest residents stand united against the proposed development of their treasured estate. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Residents of a treasured Highgate estate have accused a “shameful and incompetent” Haringey Council of lying to them over plans to build more housing – after unearthing a hidden report suggesting that their homes could be demolished.

Most read news

The 38-year-old triggered a manhunt after two bodies were found at an address in Surrey.

The mayor is meant to be convincing Singapore to invest in London – but he clearly has a bigger plan.

Dave’s on the immigration back foot. So does his crackdown on migrant benefits ring true?

America is responsible for a lot of things – good and bad. The jury’s still out on Black Friday.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition