Rising costs and demand for services, combined with a lack of investment by central government over many years, have left many councils struggling to balance their budgets.

Haringey is no exception, but just because budgets are tight does not mean that we give up on our ambitions to build a fairer, greener Haringey in which all our residents can thrive. 

It is not acceptable that Tottenham residents went without a swimming pool for the whole of 2023. That is one the reasons we took the decision last year to bring all our leisure centres back under council control.

Our leisure facilities are too important to our communities for us to put someone else in charge. In addition, we believe this decision is a critical part of our ambition to move towards providing a comprehensive health and wellbeing service that supports residents to live healthy and active lives.

Ham & High: Cllr Emily Arkell says insourcing leisure facilities will be part of the move to provide a comprehensive health and wellbeing serviceCllr Emily Arkell says insourcing leisure facilities will be part of the move to provide a comprehensive health and wellbeing service (Image: Haringey Council)

Insourcing the three leisure centres that are currently managed by Fusion Lifestyle (Tottenham Green, Park Road and Broadwater Farm) will allow us to offer a service that is fully accountable to residents and more responsive to your needs.

There will be financial and logistical challenges to overcome through this transition, but we remain convinced that this is the best way forward.

Another area where innovative approaches will be needed is in our libraries. In Haringey we know the value that libraries bring to our communities, and – while over 800 libraries have closed nationally since 2010 due to government austerity – our budget plans continue to protect all our library branches.  

We also have maintained some of the longest opening hours in London, as well as investing significantly in our library buildings to make sure they are fit for the future.

Budget pressures mean that we need to rethink the way our libraries operate. However, this will not come at the cost of branch closures. Even after the proposed reduction in the libraries budget in the next financial year we will still be spending more than £3.5 million a year on our libraries.   

We want to engage with our community through co-production and so will continue to work with and listen to residents and libraries' friends groups to ensure we have what we all want – high-quality, successful libraries for everyone to enjoy. 

This will not all be plain sailing, but with our immense community spirit and resilience in Haringey, I know that we will pull together to ensure that our borough’s crucial assets survive and thrive through these challenging times.

  • Cllr Emily Arkell is cabinet member for Culture, Communities and Leisure at Haringey Council.