Dear Mr Tichborne
Thank you for your email of this morning.
It is my understanding of the Big Society concept that local people should be encouraged to contribute to building sustainable community services and activities. The development of a community library in Friern Barnet library, which will be marketed and sold, would not be a sustainable community facility. The Council has been very clear that this sale, or a cash equivalent receipt, is essential to the development of a landmark library at artsdepot.
In that context I am really very disappointed that you have taken this opportunity to suggest that income from this sale will be directed to Cllr Rams’ward. This is not the case and I am disappointed in your continued attacks on Cllr Rams in relation to a strategy, which has been clearly and democratically adopted by the Council.
The Council has previously (and repeatedly) stated its commitment to work with the Friern Barnet Library group to look at long-term solutions for a community library in the area. The potential to consider the use of Friary House remains on the table and should the group wish to consider this or any other appropriate site, I will put my officers at their disposal.
As you are aware, the council has had a substantial, and continuing, reduction in funding from central government and this has left us obliged to make substantial savings in all of our services, libraries included. In that context our Library Strategy, which I do seem to recall you welcoming at a Cabinet meeting, compares well with those of other London boroughs. We believe the new Landmark library will see the council provide library services to a great number of residents than was the case before the adoption of the strategy.
In the meantime, I am sure you will be delighted to hear that, in response to local demand, an interim library at Tally Ho Corner will open on Tuesday 24th April. If you wish to make a £500 contribution to the book stock at the new library, I can assure you it will be gratefully received!
Cllr Richard Cornelius
Leader of the Council
London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London N11 1NP
Tel: 020 8359 2059
Fax: 0870 889 7464
Barnet Online: www.barnet.gov.uk
P please consider the environment - do you really need to print this email?