The Barnet Eye has just visited Friern Barnet Library, with film director Charles Honderick. We were about to commence an interview at 4pm, with a member of the Save Friern Barnet Library Campaign, when we received a call to say the library has been occupied.
We immediately went to the Library and spoke with the new occupiers. They stated that they are not associated with the save Friern Library campaign and are squatting in protest at the fact that it is a public building which has been empty for six months. TThye are a group of artists and students and plan to open a community library and arts space. . Two security staff from Blue 9, the council contractors responsible for security told the Barnet Eye that the occupiers had entered the building last night. They stated that their job was simply to observe at this stage.
I have just spoken to "DAve" from the occupation team, who informs me that Heather Wills from barnet Council has justa rrived. She says they are offering the group another building to open a library in and he left to visit the alternative site.
WHich begs the question, why don't they just reopen the old library, where it was. That is what the local community wants and it would avoid problems like this.
Blue 9 security informed the Barnet Eye that as far as they could tell, the occupation was not political and was linked to the recent law change, promoted by Mike Freer MP, banning squatting in private residences. He suggested that we would see a lot more squatting in empty libraries etc.
We will keep you posted.