A senior councillor has described moving a public library to a new building as an “exciting opportunity to build on our library network”.

Libraries committee chairman Cllr Reuben Thompstone made the comments as councillors discussed plans to move Hendon Public Library from its Grade II-listed current site to a new facility built on a car park at the corner of Edgerton Gardens.

The existing building in The Burroughs, which opened in 1929, has been proposed as the location for the Middlesex University Business School.

Councillors debated the proposals – part of the Hendon Hub development programme – at a meeting of the community leadership and libraries committee on Wednesday.

Cllr Thompstone (Conservative, Golders Green) told the meeting: “I think it is a really exciting opportunity to be able to build on our library network, and if I can invite all (council) members and members of the public who are listening in, when the consultation is launched in the new year, to take an opportunity to give your feedback.”

During the meeting, Cllr Nizza Fluss (Conservative, Hendon) asked why the move was necessary.

“I can’t see any reason to leave this Grade II-listed building,” Cllr Fluss said. “I do see why Middlesex want to acquire it, but I can’t see how it will benefit Barnet residents or the residents of Hendon.”

In response, head of libraries Hannah Richens said: “I absolutely hear what you are saying in relation to the importance of the current building in terms of architectural significance and history.

“However, it does not necessarily make a particularly good location for the delivery of a modern, public library service. Having a modern building gives an opportunity to design a library service for today and the future. We will have more space than the current site, and it gives us an opportunity to provide a wider range of services from that building.

“The current site, and old buildings in general, are quite difficult to manage and therefore quite expensive. The heating in the current building is quite problematic, and obviously in a new building those things can be designed in – energy efficiency and so forth.

“In the library service, we are very excited about the opportunity, because we think we can deliver a better service from the new building than we can from the existing building – albeit we love that building.”

Cllr Sara Conway (Labour, Burnt Oak) raised concerns that the consultation process for the proposed move seemed “very quick” and asked how the floor space at the new site would compare with the existing building.

Ms Richens said there would be a “fairly lengthy and phased period of consultation” that is likely to begin in the spring. “We will do lots of different ways of engaging with people through that process”, she added.

The head of libraries said the new building was expected to be 150 square metres larger than the present site.

The Hendon Hub development programme, which includes the reprovision of the library, will be considered for approval by the policy and resources committee on December 8. The redevelopment will also require planning permission.