Highgate library considers the future

CENF members may be aware that the future of Highgate Branch Library is a topic of local concern at the moment. Though outside the Crouch End Neighbourhood Area it is actually within Crouch End ward – and is clearly used by many Crouch Enders. The Forum are taking a watchful interest.

The advertised proposal is to close and sell the old library building and use the proceeds to fund a new library space within the neighbouring Jacksons Lane Centre. A report is going before Haringey Council Cabinet on June 20th : “Proposed Relocation of Highgate Library Services and disposal of the existing Library site“.

The main points seem fairly clear – that the idea originated with Jacksons Lane who are in search of matched funding for a crucial Arts Council grant, and that the proposal presents both a solution for them and Haringey, who are keen to retain library services (and are to be congratulated), but are keener still on disposing of assets.

The relocation and fitting out of the new library would come out of the residual proceeds of the sale of the old library building, once a ring-fenced £million had been paid out to JL as matched funding for their Arts Council application.

Obviously there’s a campaign to stop it (Save Highgate Library), drawn from locals who clearly value both the service and the building, a civic asset. But Jacksons Lane have their own local supporters as their most recent blog affirms. JL’s claims of transforming library services and a grand £7m mediatheque tend a little toward post hoc justification though, and perhaps simply allaying people’s fears of a diminished library housed in a couple of storerooms round the back would be a safer strategy.

If people are interested in more info, there are engagement events on –

11am and 6.30pm on Thursday 22 June
(meet at Jacksons Lane for building tours at 11am and 6.30pm, followed by discussions at Highgate Library)

We understand that library services are under threat these days, reeling from a double whammy of local authority cuts and the internet – but still feel the closure of a century-old asset deserves close scrutiny.

 


Edit. July 20th 2017,  –

The space appraisal and architect’s options have now appeared online at a dedicated Highgate Library and Jacksons Lane website. Option 4, the large library option, is pasted below. “The option study should be viewed as a series of first sketches to generate discussion”.

The timeline now appears to be –

  • August: preferred option submitted by JL to Haringey Council
  • October: Decision by Haringey Council Cabinet

 

8 Comments

  1. Tamara Cincik

    I am the Chair of the Friends of Highgate Library – Shepherds Hill
    I read the comments here am on the blog.
    To clarify: we have solutions for the library to off-set budget cuts and to upgrade facilities. The councillors haven’t replied to emails since April on these.
    We too would like computers which work quicker there and indeed have a Summer Fair fundraiser at the library on Saturday 2-4, July 8th, to which you are all very welcome. Entrance free.
    People didn’t just say as I saw on the opinion8 comment, that they liked the garden, that’s it. What they said was for many it’s their only accessible free garden, the library supports children and learners on the spectrum as it is set back into green, with natural light surrounding it. Also that a garden to learn and read or relax in, is a rare treat and unachievable at Jacksons Lane
    This was not a hostile crowd, it was a concerned and very diverse crowd.
    It was interesting to us that despite local leaflets by Jackson Lane everyone who came didn’t want it. Indeed the lady sat next to me at the second meeting, changed her mind from open minded to not wanting it, having reviewed the drawings.
    The marginalised and the lower income users are all supported by our library.
    It is a rare gem and it is a peaceful oasis. To lose it would be a real tragedy for the locality.
    It isn’t listed and if sold off it is a real concern that it would be demolished and given the build at the old magistrates court there is now a precedent for 6 storey buildings in the vicinity.
    We would love Haringey to listen to our exciting ideas to support the library and are grateful that Catherine West has met us and listened to our concerns.
    Best,
    Tamara.

    Reply
  2. Mark Afford Author

    A further opportunity to check out plans for the library has popped up courtesy of Haringey Council –

    Highgate Library Engagement Session (click for link)
    Come and hear more about our vision for Highgate Library.
    Date: Wednesday 19 July
    Time: 7pm – short presentation followed by Q&As
    Venue: Highgate Wood School, Montenotte Road, London, N8 8RN

    Reply
  3. Adrian Essex

    RE “The councillors haven’t replied to emails since April on these.” I guess this means the Crouch End councillors, in whose ward the library is, just. I wonder why they don’t reply. Is it because they are on board with the Haringey policy of disposing of all public assets, for ready cash. Especially it might seem in the west of the borough.

    Reply
  4. Mark Afford Author

    The space appraisal and architect’s options have now appeared online at a dedicated Highgate Library and Jacksons Lane website (see post). “The option study should be viewed as a series of first sketches to generate discussion”.

    The timeline now appears to be –
    – August: preferred option submitted by JL to Haringey Council
    – October: Decision by Haringey Council Cabinet

    Reply
  5. Mark Afford Author

    The proposal has been shelved.

    “Proposals to consider relocating Highgate Library into a renovated Jacksons Lane will not now be taken forward. A feasibility study that explored a number of co-location options, showed that the estimated receipt from selling the existing library site would not be enough to cover the costs of creating the new library and that Jacksons Lane may lose revenue as a result of space lost to accommodating the library.”

    https://www.jacksonslane.org.uk/blog/bright-future-for-jacksons-lane

    For those that had a look at the plans, one isn’t at all surprised – there wasn’t room.

    Further news, –
    “Jacksons Lane will host a public meeting at 6.30pm on Monday, September 18 to present an overview of the feasibility study, answer questions, and present further information about their ambitions for the future of the building.”

    Reply
    1. Adam Garfunkel

      Actually there was more room for the core library space than at the existing location. But other issues including costs and getting planning compromised the project’s feasibility.

      Reply
  6. Elly Chalmers

    That’s a welcome development, but will it halt LBH’s seeming desire to rid itself of all such ACVs in the west off the borough?

    Reply

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