Haringey Council backtracks on Muswell Hill Library funding

A planned extension to a popular library has been scrapped following a u-turn by Haringey Council. The Labour-run council proposed to match money raised from the sale of land behind Muswell Hill Library in a £1.2 investment to improve facilities, but the library now will only receive minimum funding without additional investment from Haringey Council.

Lib Dems have expressed their disappointment that Haringey Council has, once again, failed library users in the area.

The reversal of the proposed funding was revealed at a meeting of Haringey Council’s Cabinet on 22nd January 2008 when Cllr Gail Engert (Lib Dem, Muswell Hill) questioned confused Labour members over the plan. The Council Leader, Cllr George Meehan told the meeting that Haringey Council had allocated the money needed – but had to be corrected by council officers who told him this was not the case.

Cllr Gail Engert comments:

“Muswell Hill Library has seen years of neglect by Haringey Labour and again the only commitment is another patch-up job. I am deeply disappointed that the library will not be extended after much consultation of residents and library users.

“The Labour Cabinet didn’t seem to know what was going on, with the Council Leader thinking they had agreed to fund the extension when he hadn’t.You have to question whether the Cabinet even understood the decision they were making on Muswell Hill Library.”

Cllr David Winskill, Lib Dem Leisure, Culture and Lifelong learning spokesperson, adds:

“It was amazing that, when questioned, Labour members didn’t seem to know what money the Council was giving to Muswell Hill library. It is very worrying that they are not investing in our libraries but it is also reflection of their lack of grip on the council’s finances and their disregard for taxpayers.”