Muswell Hill library booked in for a revamp

THE stamp of approval has been given to the long-awaited refurbishment of Muswell Hill library

Charlotte Newton

THE stamp of approval has been given to the long-awaited refurbishment of Muswell Hill library.

Haringey Council this week released its timetable for work, which is being funded by the sale of the car park behind the Queen's Avenue site.

The designs will be the subject of a public consultation beginning next month and the council has agreed to stump up an extra £100,000 towards the cost.

But Lib Dem councillors have criticised the council for back-tracking on its original plans for a two-storey extension and instead promising to provide access to the existing upper floor for people with disabilities.

Cllr Gail Engert said: "Muswell Hill Library has seen years of neglect by Haringey Labour and again the only commitment is another patch-up job. I am deeply disappointed that the library will not be extended after much consultation of residents and library users.

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"The library continues to deteriorate while the council changes its mind on its future. The roof is leaking badly and wallpaper is peeling off all over the building."

A spokesman for the council said: "The council's position is clear and is unchanged - our proposal is to sell off the land at the back of the library with planning permission to maximise the income raised from the sale.

"As the sale will be on the open market, we are not in a position at this stage to say how much will be raised by the sale.

"The sum raised by the sale of the land will be augmented by the council's corporate property services budget - £100,00 will be also be used to develop the library.

"We will also be seeing if funds can be raised from other sources too.

"Proceeds from the sale of this land will be ring-fenced for library improvements, so this also represents value for money for residents.

"Housing is one possible use of the site, but any planning application would obviously be assessed so it does not have an adverse impact on the area."

Consultations have been going on for more than a year about how to regenerate the run-down building and raise money for much needed repairs.

Previous proposed schemes for the library on Queen's Avenue included a multi-million pound project with a restaurant inside the library.