Library plans for Muswell Hill hit another setback
Robyn Rosen THE car park behind Muswell Hill Library will not be sold after all – despite the council granting planning permission to developers. The latest decision is another setback for the site, which was due to be sold to raise money for refurbishme
THE car park behind Muswell Hill Library will not be sold after all - despite the council granting planning permission to developers.
The latest decision is another setback for the site, which was due to be sold to raise money for refurbishments for the dilapidated Queen's Avenue library.
In December last year, permission was granted to developers, Sprunt, to turn the land behind the Queen's Avenue library into four apartments.
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But on Tuesday, officials confirmed that the land would no longer be sold due to the "current economic climate".
Diane Edmunds, from library services, said: "A decision has been made in the current economic climate not to sell the car park because we wouldn't get a good return on the sale. That has been postponed for the moment."
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Pat Bloomfield, planning officer at the Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association, said: "It's another change of direction but it has to be expected in the current climate. It also leaves their options open if they wanted to develop the land themselves."
Meanwhile council officials confirmed that long-awaited repair works to the library will be commencing shortly and said the delay was due to a problem obtaining listed building consent.
Residents have been calling for renovation works at the Grade-II listed building for years with complaints about damp and insufficient facilities.
"I'm delighted to say that the repairs are now due to begin," Ms Edmunds said.
"We have been waiting quite some time for listing building consent. But we have now received this so we can proceed to repair the roof.
"We hope to start very shortly and the work can be done before the summer holidays.
"That's important because there are lots of activities we plan.
"If that isn't successful, we have been assured that any activities planned will be respected and the work will not be undertaken at that time.
"Most work will not affect users at all but towards the end we will close the upper floor for a couple of weeks.
"At the moment it will just be the roof and internal decoration.
"There have been discussions about a toilet and a lift, and building services are looking at what we can afford to do."
Muswell Hill councillor Gail Engert said: "Finally, after years of neglect Muswell Hill library will have its date with the decorators, but Haringey is still dragging its feet over refurbishing the toilets and providing full disabled access.
"It was a complete farce that the development behind the library, which aimed to provide funding to expand the library and provide disabled access, stopped any expansion as it took up all the car park space.
"The news that this has been postponed will not be missed. It gives an opportunity for developers to go back to the drawing board.