9:47am Monday 23rd July 2012
By Emma Innes
Hundreds of people marched through the borough on Saturday to protest against Barnet Council’s One Barnet Programme.
Protesters gathered at the closed Friern Barnet Library, in Friern Barnet Road, then marched to North Finchley Library before walking through Tally Ho Corner and ending up outside Victoria Park.
The protest, which was organised by the Barnet Alliance for Public Services, was primarily concerned with expressing resident’s worries that the council plans to privatise as much as 70 per cent of its services.
Organiser Tizra Waisel said: “The One Barnet Programme will mean that there are many Barnets, not one.
“If they privatise the services then if anything goes wrong there will be no one in the council to monitor it.
“This is such a radical programme that it will be irreversible.
“It is a disaster waiting to happen.”
The protesters originally planned to end their protest with a rally in Victoria Park but claim they were prevented from doing so by the council, who apparently said this would be in breach of by-laws.
Following the march a party was held in North Finchley’s Cafe Buzz, in the High Road.
One protester, Donald Lyven, said: “It was quite exciting. There was a real feeling of empowerment.
“Whatever the council does we will overcome.”
The controversial One Barnet Programme involves the outsourcing of council services to private companies in the hope that it will save the council money.
In a statement Barnet Council said: “All events held in council owned open spaces must apply for a licence.
"This is to make sure other park users are not inconvenienced and the park is protected.
“No such request was received from the organisation.
“The council had to cancel a separate paid for event on the same day in the park as we were concerned about ground conditions following several weeks of rain.”
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