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Muswell Hill Library move likened to Thatcher milk-stealing

PUBLISHED: 09:00 29 May 2016

Chris Roche wants Muswell Hill Library to stay put. Photo: Polly Hancock

Chris Roche wants Muswell Hill Library to stay put. Photo: Polly Hancock

Archant

A renowned architect fears the historic library will be moved to the site of the former Green Man pub, rather than adapted for greater disability access

Site of the former Green Man pub where the library could be moved. Photo: Polly HancockSite of the former Green Man pub where the library could be moved. Photo: Polly Hancock

Chris Roche, who works in Wilton Road, claims proposals for Muswell Hill Library to be moved are “almost as unwelcome as Margaret Thatcher’s decision to remove milk from schools.”

He believes library users will not be presented with a genuine choice in the consultation on the future of the Grade II-listed building.

The first option is for the library to stay in its historic building – but with no investment for improved disability access.

The second – and final – option is for the library to be moved to the site of the former Green Man pub in Muswell Hill.

Haringey endorses this option in a response to frequently asked questions: “It is the council’s preference to relocate the library to the new facility, which would have lower running costs.”

But Mr Roche argues the council should invest in disability access at the current site: “The council has a responsibility to provide disabled access and toilets to public buildings.”

Haringey ruled this out after commissioning a report which found improvements would cost between £680,000 and £1,650,000.

The library, built in 1931, could have a future use as a site for GP practices. The Clinical Commissioning Group commissioned a feasibility study on the current site. Any decision on this would have to be voted on by the council after the library consultation.

Cllr Pippa Connor said: “The Lib Dems believe that Muswell Hill Library should stay in its historic home and not be moved. With some work to install a lift the current building would be more accessible and the public would still be able to enjoy the historic building and the murals inside it.

“We could then retain and modernise our old library, with money from a small development at the back of the library, and provide a new modern purpose built space in the new build at the top of Muswell Hill for our GP practices.”

The date of the consultation has not yet been confirmed.

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