Yesterday, The Barnet Eye attended a meeting at Friern Barnet library, held between various groups associated with the campaign to reopen the library and Barnet Council. The meeting was chaired by Phoenix from the group occupying the library and his aim was to encourage a positive dialog within the community.
I was personally rather pleased that a civilised and open discussion was had. It was clear that there was a gulf between Council and various groups, but with good will all of these things could be overcome.
I was therefore astounded to read a report in todays Barnet Press stating that the council is beginning eviction procedings against the occupiers. This was a direct contradiction of what four council officers, including a director told us yesterday. I feel that the council has yet again deceived the local community and yet again wasted our time. If they had no intention of allowing the occupiers the opportunity of putting together a plan, with local residents, why waste everyones time? Not all of the peopel present agreed with the Councils approach towards the occupiers and some felt that it could cause trouble further down the line for Barnet Council. As I beleive that public property should be untilised by the community, I have less reservations. It was crystal clear to all present that the occupiers were well intentioned. The council could have given them, a license for the building on the understanding that when they needed to use it, the occupiers would move out. In return the occupiers would guarantee the security and bve responsible for the upkeep. That would be a win win for the council and the taxpayers, as the council could save £600 a day in security fees.
As it is, yet again, Barnet Council has made a bad situation worse and are left looking even more deceitful than before. Who on earth is running the show. It is all really rather shameful.
If you wamt to support moves for an open and honest council, please come down to Cafe Buzz tonighT (Tuesday 11th Sept) and support our fundraiser for A Tale of Two Barnets. at Cafe Buzz, in Finchley High Road. This is a film about inequality and dishonesty in Barnet.