Re-provision of Hendon Library and Local Studies Centre, Relocation of School Libraries Resource Service
- Meeting of Community Leadership and Libraries Committee, Wednesday 18th November, 2020 7.30 pm (Item 7.)
The Chairman introduced the item, noting that this is a great opportunity for Barnet further to the building of new libraries in other areas of the Borough, bringing new technology and being part of a wider regeneration of the Hendon area.
Cllr Conway made the following queries and comments:
· Cllr Conway requested callover ahead of future CLLC meetings so that the Labour Group can be fully briefed. This was agreed.
Action: Governance Officer
· Hendon Library is of historic importance locally and nationally. Cllr Conway felt that the consultation process seemed relatively quick and requested more details about it.
Ms Richens, Head of Library Services reported that the consultation would be phased over a long period of time, beginning in spring 2021. This would be subject to Policy & Resources Committee’s agreement of the proposals in December. There would be detailed discussions with residents on what they want from the new site and a range of engagement activities.
· How would the new library’s floor space compare to the current library, including prior to Middlesex University leasing part of the latter?
Ms Richens responded that proposed footprint is around 800sq metres; around 150 metres larger than the current site, with a more efficient use of space than the present building. Ms Richens would respond after the meeting on the size of the library before the lease to Middlesex University.
Action: Ms Richens
· How would archive material be stored? This is a valuable resource. For example, the stained-glass windows of the old Church End Library had been damaged and lost in the process of the new one being built.
Ms Richens noted that Barnet’s archivist, Mr Petrie would be closely involved in this so that items would be stored appropriately.
· How much was being spent on the recent refurbishment of Hendon Town Hall?
This information was not available at the meeting and this is not covered in the report, which related to the libraries only.
· As Middlesex University is looking to modernise library sites, Burnt Oak Library frontage and site needs refurbishment more urgently than Hendon Library. There appears to be a divorce between libraries in most people’s understanding, and the estates that a council manages.
Ms Richens responded that she had discussed the infrastructure development plan with the Growth Team and this had included a discussion about Burnt Oak Library.
· Cllr Rich asked about the current car park, used by Members and officers, where the new library would be situated.
Ms Richens noted that it was unclear whether anyone other than Members and officers used the car park. The Chairman noted that it is not heavily used and that he felt confident that officers would look into this.
· Cllr Fluss commented that as Hendon Ward Councillor she could not see the reason to leave the Grade II Listed Hendon Library or why it would benefit Barnet residents.
She asked whether Middlesex University would pay for the Library at Egerton Road and what the cost would be. Would there be anything else on the site? Where will the car park be? The report states that the Egerton Road site is too small for the School Libraries Resource Centre and that this will have to be relocated. How much would this relocation cost and what would be the true cost of the new library including this? How much would the rent be?
Cllr Fluss noted that she had seen the figure of £30,000 for relocation and asked why the Council would pay this, when it has an adequate library already? How can the Council be assured that Middlesex University will be able to fund this?
The Chairman noted that the recommendations in the report were for the Committee to comment, and that approval would be sought at Policy & Resources Committee. Such representations could be requested of Policy & Resources Committee. He added that CLLC is considering the library and not the wider development.
Ms Richens confirmed that issues around the Hendon Hub would be discussed at Policy & Resources Committee, so she did not have the detailed information requested on funding. She had been informed that the Members’ car parking would be re-provided. Parking and traffic would be part of the broader consideration of the scheme.
Ms Richens noted that she understood the architectural significance and importance of the current building, though it is not deemed to be necessarily a good location for a modern library service. The new library would have more space and be able to provide a wider range of services. The current building is difficult, expensive to manage and not energy efficient.
· Cllr O-Macauley asked how much input would be invited from the community during the consultation period about Burnt Oak Library. Ms Richens responded that the scheme was not at this point but for Hendon Library there would be multiple approaches including surveys, displays, drop-in sessions and co-creation sessions.
That Committee RESOLVED to note the proposal to re-provide Hendon library as part of the new Hendon Hub development and to relocate the School Libraries Resources Service (SLRS).