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Muswell Hill Library campaigners celebrate victory after Haringey U-turn

PUBLISHED: 09:37 05 October 2017

The Friends of Muswell Hill Library are afraid they may lose their historic, listed building.

The Friends of Muswell Hill Library are afraid they may lose their historic, listed building.

Archant

Campaigners are celebrating after Haringey Council U-turned on proposals to relocate a Grade II-listed library.

The development at 54-56 Muswell Hill which supporters feared might become the venue's new home. Picture: JON KINGThe development at 54-56 Muswell Hill which supporters feared might become the venue's new home. Picture: JON KING

Last year 71 per cent of 1,282 residents who responded to a public consultation told the council they wanted Muswell Hill Library to stay at its current Queens Avenue home after the authority proposed to move it to 54-56 Muswell Hill.

The council asked property consultant GL Hearn to look into how the existing library, purpose built in 1931, and 54-56 Muswell Hill could be used.

On Tuesday the council reported GL Hearn concluded it would cost too much to convert the library into office space with 54-56 Muswell Hill, the site of the Green Man pub, better suited for “managed workspace”.

George Danker from The Friends of Muswell Hill Library said: “We are delighted. This decision shows Haringey are no longer committed to sacrificing library services for the sake of selling off public buildings. They must be congratulated for performing this U-turn.

“We want to emphasise it was community action that saved our library. We, the community, won the argument. We came together and we have proved that when we all work towards the same goal, change really is possible.”

In 2016, more than 3,000 people signed a petition to save the library within a fortnight of its launch. Mr Danker thanked a number of supporters including the Ham&High, Friends of Reading and Education (FORE!), Muswell Hill & Fortis Green Association, 38Degrees, Chris Roche of 11.04 Architects, Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West, local councillors and members of the Friends of Muswell Hill Library for support.

Mr Danker added: “Muswell Hill Library isn’t perfect - there are issues regarding accessibility which need to be looked at. We understand Haringey is strapped for cash, as are all local authorities - but we believe something can be done to improve the situation at relatively little expense. What really matters is that our voice is now being heard at the highest levels.”

A council spokeswoman said it had decided to keep the library in its current home given the public support to do so, but added there was no money to invest in access.

Mr Danker said: “We continue to lobby Haringey to uphold its obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act.”

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