Disappointed campaigners say they have been “robbed” of their community library after plans to relocate its services were given the go ahead on Monday.

More than 3,000 people signed up to the Save Friern Barnet Library (SFBL) campaign, but despite their desperate attempts to save the much-used public space, Barnet Council’s Cabinet ruled in favour of its closure on March 31.

Heather Roseman, a member of SGBL group, said: "As a community we feel robbed, as our last community space is about to be taken away from us. “I will never understand how the council thinks it in our best interests to close our library, especially when there is so much obvious support for keeping it.”

North Finchley library will also close, although a date has not been set, and a new library will be set up at Artsdepot in North Finchley.

But Ms Roseman said: “They say that the new library in the Artsdepot will only be 1.1 miles away, but that's of no comfort to the many Friern Barnet residents who will not be able to get there. And this includes the very groups who need it the most – the elderly, disabled and school children. “It's unthinkable that current and future generations of children will miss out on story-times, rhyme-times, and the sheer joy of learning to read that a library brings. “Our children are devastated, as are we all, and I dread to think what the knock-on effects will be for the people in our community of this blatant short-termism.”

Cabinet had already agreed to relocate the services at a meeting back in July, but owing to the amount of support for the local libraries, residents groups were given time to come up with “community initiatives” to run their libraries more efficiently.

In October the SFBL group set to work on a proposal that would keep their library open, while saving cash for the council. But, the proposal was thrown out by Councillor Robert Rams, cabinet member for customer access and partnerships, and council officers.

Cllr Rams said: "Unfortunately, the proposal submitted for Friern Barnet was not viable as it isn’t a no cost or low cost solution.

“Their proposal required the continued provision of staffing by the council – which, with associated overhead costs, would have made it unaffordable.

“If Cabinet had accepted this group’s proposal, cuts in other library services would have had to be found – such as adult literacy services or library services to young people.”

But Tamar Andrusier, SFBL’s schools and community liaison officer, said: “We put together a proposal in good faith, hoping to work creatively in partnership with the council for the good of the community. Clearly we were wasting our time.

“My family and I have found the contempt shown to residents quite breathtaking. For our children this has been an introduction to politics they will never forget.”

Cllr Rams said Friern Barnet Library has limited space to run a modern service, but has extended his offer for the group to run the services elsewhere in the community.

He said: “We believe Friary House would be a low cost solution which would offer residents a valuable community space in accommodation that already has a café and facilities for children on site.”

Friern Barnet Library will close on March 31 but no date has been set for the closure of North Finchley Library. The council hopes to have some services, such as Children's Rhyme Time sessions, running at the Artsdepot by April 1.