Sunday, 14 December 2014

Save Barnet Libraries.

On the 26/11/14 I spoke about libraries at a public meeting organised by Barnet Unison. Alan Gibbons, the children's author and library campaigner, has very kindly posted my speech on his blog;

Barnet Council is threatening to decimate the public library service in the borough;

"a number of libraries in the borough either run for profit by a private enterprise, or by a mutual struggling to survive, or by community groups with insufficient resources.

Up to two in three library jobs will have gone. They will be replaced by volunteers and machines.
Most surviving libraries will be smaller, being only 540 square feet in area. Book and audio-visual stock will be reduced, cutting choice. There will be less computers for the public to use and less study space available.
Libraries will be unsafe. For most of its’ opening times a library will not have any staff (or even volunteers) on site."
see the excellent leaflet produced by Barnet Unison for more information on the library

There's currently a public consultation taking place but many see this a 'non-consultation' and a sham, for more on this read;

Barnet Unison because of concerns raised has asked for the consultation period to be extended but the Council has refused, see;

Some school pupils in the borough are so concerned they've even written to the council asking them to think again;


There's a protest against the cuts on 16/12/14 at Hendon Town Hall and i would urge every library worker, library user/supporter/campaigner to attend and show your support, there's also a petition;

see also;





  1. Re. Church End Library, N3

    Barnet has been keeping their plans for demolishing Church End Library and moving it into a tiny new library secret from the residents and library users.
    Barnet made great play of a consultation about the future of their library service which they ran from November 2014 to February 2015, but what they failed to mention was that they had already decided to demolish Church End Library in September 2013 and replace it with something the size of a train carriage.

    The planning application below was granted over a year before the so-called "consultation" which, by the way, resulted in over 90% of participants saying they do not want any more cuts to the library service.

    Barnet, as I remember it, granted planning permission without consulting the neighbours of Gateway House, which is now being demolished. Can anything be done to stop this process and preserve Church End Library as it is?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. it's truly shocking Martin, Barnet Council has treated users/residents with utter contempt, unfortunately sham consultations and the like are taking place up and down the country, a total disregard for local democracy and acccountability.

  2. LOCATION: Gateway House, 318-330 Regents Park Road, Finchley Church End, London, N3
    REFERENCE: F/03933/13
    Received: 03/09/2013
    Accepted: 30/09/2013
    WARD: Finchley Church End
    Expiry: 30/12/2013

    APPLICANT: Maverick Estates Ltd
    PROPOSAL: Demolition of the existing building and redevelopment of the site to provide 77 residential flats (all use class C3), 522 square metres of office space (use class B1), 501 square metres of retail space (use class A1) and a library (use class D1) covering 960 square metres in a building ranging between five and eight storeys in height (with additional lower ground floor, basement and roof terraces), together with associated car parking (72 spaces), communal amenity space (including roof top terraces), access, landscaping, refuse and recycling facilities, cycle parking, plant and related works.


    Recommendation 1
    The applicant and any other person having a requisite interest be invited to enter by way of an agreement into a planning obligation under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and any other legislation which is considered necessary for the purposes of seeking to secure the following:

    (a) Legal Professional Costs Recovery
    Paying the Council’s legal and professional costs of preparing the Agreement and any other enabling arrangements.

    (b) Enforceability
    All obligations listed below to become enforceable in accordance with a timetable to be agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority.

  4. (c) Library Delivery
    The delivery of the library facility which forms part of this application on the following terms:
    - Either complete the construction to a ‘shell’ stage (but including internal stair cases, heating, ventilation and air conditioning or comfort cooling) and carry out the internal fitting out of the library facility to a standard where it is ready for occupation (a ‘turnkey’ facility) at cost, which shall not exceed a sum of £945,000 (sum in relation to the internal fitting out only), to the developer to the reasonable satisfaction of the Council; or alternatively following the completion of the construction to a ‘shell’ stage (but including internal stair cases, heating, ventilation and air conditioning or comfort cooling) the Council can appoint contractors to undertake the internal fiting out works and the applicant shall pay the contractor’s costs on provision of appropriate invoices itemising the works to which the payment relates and upon being reasonably satisfied that such works have been undertaken in a proper manner, up to a maximum sum of £945,000 (sum in relation to the internal fitting out only).
    - Unless it has otherwise previously been agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority under an application for a non-material minor amendment, the library facility constructed shall have a total gross internal floorspace of not less than 960.4m2 and this shall comprise minimum gross internal floorspace areas of 541.5m2 on the ground floor of the building and 418.9m2 on the lower ground floor of the building.
    - Within 10 days of the practical completion of the construction of the library facility to a ‘shell’ standard (but including internal stair cases, heating, ventilation and air conditioning or comfort cooling) the developer shall grant a lease for the premises to the Council for a term of 125 years on the payment of a premium of £1 and at a rent not exceeding £100 per annum.
    - The provision of a sum of £250,000 by the developer to the Council for the purchase and implementation of library furnishings and furniture, media and information technology equipment and any other library equipment the Council considers as appropriate for the new library.
    - The delivery of the library facility and the payment of the associated monies in accordance with a timetable that has been agreed in writing with the Council prior to the commencement of the