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Barnet Council rules out reopening Friern Barnet Library despite North Finchley artsdepot pull-out
Barnet Council has ruled out reopening Friern Barnet Library despite pulling out of a major investment for a new facility at the artsdepot.
The authority had hoped to merge Friern Barnet and North Finchley libraries to invest in a ‘landmark’ facility at the artsdepot in North Finchley.
After announcing the venture had fallen through this morning, the authority said it would be investing the cash in the North Finchley Library but that Friern Barnet, shut down in April, would remain closed.
Libraries portfolio holder Councillor Robert Rams said: “Friern Barnet closed because we had to make a saving to our ongoing revenue budget and that building’s closure is saving the taxpayer around £100,000 a year.
The money from the sale of the building will be put back in to the library service. All council services are having to make savings at the moment, with our library Service making a saving of around £1.4 million over the period of the spending review. This is around two per cent of the overall financial saving the council has to make.”
In September, the building in Friern Barnet Road was occupied by squatters who have since reopened their own community library.
The group is due back in court in December to find out whether they are entitled to stay in the vacant premises.
Barnet Council also confirmed this morning that any discussions about a potential community library at the Friern Barnet Library will have to wait until the court action is complete.