The Land Registry document for Muswell Hill Library contains what is known as a covenant. The document states that the land ‘shall not (or any part) be used for any purpose other than that of a Branch Public Library or other public non-trading purpose.’
The Lib Dems believe that the document means Labour plans to relocate the library, as revealed in the draft budget for Haringey Council, are not sound.
Local MP Lynne Featherstone has been campaigning to save the library after it was revealed in the draft budget that Labour planned to close the library and move the service to an unspecified location. Ms Featherstone’s petition attracted 1318 signatures in just a few weeks.
The opposition politicians believe that the newly revealed legal document means that any plans to use the library building for another purpose or to sell the site off could be open to legal challenge.
Lynne Featherstone MP, comments:
“Under pressure from local Lib Dems and residents, some Labour councillors are already backtracking and saying that the library will remain where it is. Over 1300 residents have signed our petition, which shows just how much the service means to people locally.
“The discovery of the covenant adds even more pressure on Labour to think again. Local residents, Lib Dem councillors and I will keep campaigning until the plans are officially withdrawn from the council’s budget proposals.”
Gail Engert, Local Lib Dem councillor for Muswell Hill, comments:
“James Edmondson donated the library land to the borough back in the 1890s with the clear intention it should be used for the public good. The site was first used as a fire station and later the wonderful listed building we see today was constructed to give the people of Muswell Hill access to books and learning.
“This legal document clearly states that Muswell Hill Library site should be used for a library. The Liberal Democrats believe that Labour should respect this legal document and James Edmondson’s wishes and keep Muswell Hill Library where it is.”