An Independent Family-Owned Newspaper
Follow us on:
Subscribe to our RSS News Feed
Friern Barnet library eviction proceeedings delayed until December
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Borrowed time: Eviction proceedings against the library squatters has been delayed until December
THE battle over Friern Barnet Library will continue for another two months after a judge adjourned eviction proceedings until mid-December.
Squatters occupying the former library in Friern Barnet Road have just over two months to prepare their defence against Barnet Council, which is attempting to have them removed from the building.
The local authority closed the library on April 5 as part of plans to sell off the building. Council chiefs want to merge Frien Barnet and North Finchley libraries to create a new library at artsdepot in Tally Ho Corner.
Since the building’s occupation in September, the group has set up a community library and met with the authority on five occasions to discuss establishing a permanent library in Friern Barnet.
During the half-hour hearing at Barnet County Court in Finchley yesterday morning, Peter Phoenix, who was representing the squatters, claimed the ongoing negotiations with the authority had given the group licence to remain in the building.
After District Judge Marc Marin confirmed the case would go to a full hearing, activists were told to name themselves as defendants in the case, which will be heard between December 17 and 21.
In a courtroom filled with supporters of the community library, many of whom were forced to stand, Judge Marin warned that if they were to lose then the named defendants – Daniel Gardner, Petra Albert, Arran Patel, Keith Martin and Mr Phoenix – could find themselves liable for court costs.
Mr Patel, from east London, admitted he was concerned about the financial impact of losing the case.
But he added: “I think it is a worthwhile risk. I think we have got a very good chance of putting a very good case together.”
Speaking after the judge had left the courtroom to rapturous applause from library supporters, Mr Phoenix hailed the adjournment as a “victory for the people”.
“The judge has given hope to the people of Barnet and nationally to the national libraries community,” he said.
Mr Phoenix added: “We hope that the council may well come back to the negotiation table and listen to the people of Barnet.”
But deputy council leader and cabinet member for resources Daniel Thomas, who attended the hearing, said the council had only offered the activists the chance to buy the library building for £400,000, or the use of Friary House in Friary Park as a community-run library.
“Either way, we have got to get the proceeds from the sale of that building,” he said.
A council spokeswoman said the authority was disappointed the group had used the negotiations as a defence.
“This will mean we cannot have any further discussions about a community library until the court case is finished,” she said.
All content © of North London Press unless stated otherwise.
Comments on this news item:
2 comments on this news item
Posted by : Jeffrey, Bournemouth | Wednesday 10/Oct/2012 | Report this comment
There is no possibility of the ’landmark’ library opening. The Council’s own figures (secured via a Freedom of Information request) via Consultants, put the cost at £5mill! Friern Barnet Community Library is potentially a major local asset in an area which has now little local identity. The Council needs to work with the local residents, not threaten them - or call them ’squatters’.
Posted by : An, Friern | Wednesday 10/Oct/2012 | Report this comment
Barent are after money only. They have the money, but do not use it wisely - just to fund very expensive officers. Landmark library will not happen - too expensive, as I always knew it would be. Friern Barnet residents sold down the line. Unprincipled, dishonest, unwilling to hear their residents, what an apology for a public body!!
Add your comment:
Sir Ray Tindle
Advertise with us