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Barnet Council starts legal action to remove Friern Barnet Library squatters
Legal action to remove squatters from the closed Friern Barnet Library has been started by Barnet Council.
A group of activists broke in to the building in Friern Barnet Road last week and have since been in negotiations with the authority on opening a community library there.
Council officers want to move the group to the empty Friary House, in Friary Park, but the squatters have gathered the support of several community groups, including campaigners who fought to keep the library open.
The popular library was shut down in April as a cost cutting measure by Barnet Council, which is also looking to sell the land.
The library has twice been reopened to the public by the squatters since their occupation and more than 400 books have been put back on the shelves.
Despite discussions continuing between senior council officers and the group, the authority confirmed it was taking legal action to have them removed.
A representative said in a statement: “The council is genuinely enthusiastic about any group proposing ideas to run a community library in Friary House.
“However, it is important that public assets are protected and we have now started the legal process to have the squatters removed, although this is not a quick process.
“We are continuing to have discussions in good faith about the possibility of the group opening a community library in Friary House.
“This is not connected to their occupation of the former Friern Barnet Library building.”