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CROUCH END Councillor Jason Arthur is playing a leading role in the library "disposal" process. Together with the Council Leader, he attended the AGM of the branch library users group recently, helping make the case to a lively meeting.
Despite commissioning a Study to examine whether or not a relocation of library services to a space in Jacksons Lane Arts centre is feasible or not, the Labour-run Council is nonetheless scheduled to take a "Key" Decision "in principle" to dispose of the building.
Few are likely to be fooled by the "in principle" description. Little more is missing than a named buyer, ready to sign a contract.
That Key Decision—currently scheduled for the Cabinet meeting on 20 June—would be, the decision to sell Highgate Library.
It assumes that the Feasibility Study will say that yes, a space can be found and a relocation is feasible. However, the Study is still underway, incomplete and certainly unpublished. A presentation of some kind at Highgate Library is due on 22nd of June—two days after the key decision.
It's almost as though Haringey Council knows what will be in the Feasibility Study, ahead of time.
This could be seen as cynical, unreasonable, closed-minded or as a lack of due process.
The role of the architectural firm becomes more important now that the Council's goal of disposal has been exposed. I would expect that, if the firm hasn't earlier been under pressure to come up with a Feasibility Study that is supportive of shoe-horning a "library space" (the Council's term) into Jackson's Lane, then they surely are now.
Because the Council is paying CDB for the Feasibility Study study, from the start the report is already less than wholly independent of the Council, but this extra factor (the sequence) could also tend to undermine the credibility of their report.
Witness Muswell Hill:
This is the modern way to close Libraries: first, separate the service from the dedicated, stand-alone building.