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One Deadline

Deadline looms for library plan

Thursday, 01 December 2011

Keeping positive: Martin Russo, from the Save Friern Barnet Library campaign

By Linsey Humphries

CAMPAIGNERS from the Save Friern Barnet Library group are submitting detailed proposals to Barnet Council tomorrow, following a request by the authority to the community for plans for the library.

The group will be contributing financial plans and details of the campaign’s formal constitution, their governance arrangements and bank accounts, alongside additional documentation.

The council’s cabinet previously approved a strategy to close the library, merge it with North Finchley Library and reopen in the artsdepot at Tally Ho Corner.

However, following a campaign by residents, a three-month reprieve was granted to provide time for consideration of alternative solutions.

The request to the group last Thursday to submit detailed documentation followed a meeting between campaigners and council officers in October and the deadline is at 5pm tomorrow.

Labour councillors and campaigners asked for an extension, but they have not had a formal response to the request and intend to submit their proposals by the deadline.
Campaigner Martin Russo said: “The plan is to submit our proposal this Friday and hope we can have a positive outcome with Barnet Council in keeping our library open.”

Robert Rams, the cabinet member responsible for the changes, said: “I’m committed to getting a community library up and running and we’re now at a stage where we want to hear from people.

“We won’t be extending the time because we have been working with the groups for months and providing support along the way.”

Labour group deputy leader and Coppetts ward councillor Barry Rawlings said: “If the Tories are serious about working with local residents who are trying to save these libraries, they really must give them enough time to prepare their plans – otherwise the process will be seen as a sham.”