A petition against Haringey Council’s proposals to move the library on Muswell Hill to a different site has garnered the support of more than 2,000 signatures in three days.
In a bid to make Muswell Hill Library "more modern and accessible", Haringey Council has begun a consultation on plans to move the library to a larger building which is “modern, accessible, all on one floor, and still located in the centre of Muswell Hill”. The proposal to relocate the library will “enable more people to access its facilities and services”. The council argues that the new space is 25% larger.
However, according to the campaign, which was started by George Danker, the building to which the council intends to move the library is “a dark, oppressive space with low ceilings” without disabled parking and no provision for passengers with limited mobility.
The other option is to stay in the current building, but the council has said it will be unable to make any amendments as the estimations of costs ranges from £680,000 to £1,650,000. A spokesperson for the council told The Bookseller: "The cost of adapting the exiting building is at least £680,000. Haringey cannot justify spending in excess of £680,000 on an aging building which is likely to be expensive to maintain as it gets older."
The petition says that the Friends of Muswell Hill Library have been given a quote to improve the existing library for £60,000. The campaign intends to convince the council to go ahead with this option, which will cover a lift, a disabled toilet, better disabled access.
A statement from the council said: “The current building needs expensive adaptations to give better access to residents in wheelchairs and pushchairs and it will need more money spent on maintenance and repairs as the building gets older. The new facility would provide a sustainable library service for the Muswell Hill community for years to come. We are facing severe government funding cuts and difficult financial decisions about how and where to spend limited funding. Options for adapting the existing library building were explored, but estimations of costs ranged from £680,000 to £1,650,000."
The consultation on the proposal will run until 25th August.