Barnet Council has threatened to pursue full legal costs from the Friern Barnet Library squatters should they lodge an unsuccessful appeal against their impending eviction.

The occupiers this morning announced their intention to fight the possession order granted to Barnet Council last month - a decision that has angered council officials.

The authority had earlier postponed the group’s eviction until January 31 to allow discussions over granting the library's supporters, comprising a number of community groups, a formal licence to run the building.

The council decided not to pursue legal costs from the defendants who contested the council’s initial application for a possession order, but says no such generosity will be shown if they are dragged through the courts again.

Libraries portfolio holder Councillor Robert Rams said he was “disappointed” in the group’s decision to appeal given the council’s “generosity” in agreeing to hold talks.

He said: “We will happily talk to the real members of the local community but the squatters must leave the building.

“It is disappointing that they are appealing, which will waste even more taxpayers’ money - money which could be invested in front-line services.

“I’m not surprised by the appeal but we have been very generous in terms of agreeing to talk with them."

Despite the possibility of going back to court, Councillor Rams said the council is still prepared to negotiate a licence with a five-person panel put forward by the occupiers last night.

He said: “I will talk to any group that are properly constituted and meet any relevant legislation but if any group is associated with the squatters they need to tell them to get out so we can have unbiased discussions with any community bids.”