Anger at Council plans for library

The future of Highams Park Library

The Chairs of The Highams Park Planning Group, The Highams Park Forum and The Highams Park Society hove jointly issued the following open letter about the Councils plans for the library:

Council officers are recommending that our library in Highams Park (known as “Hale End Library”) be sold for redevelopment as flats. The officers suggest that an alternative library space should be rented in Signal Walk (by Tesco) but do not clearly state how the significant rental cost is to be funded and for how long.

The officers’ proposals go before the Council Cabinet Meeting on 12th July. If the Cabinet approve the proposal there will then be a public consultation but this does not mean that the decision will be reversed if local residents object. Please read on to the foot of this page to see how you can influence the Cabinet decision.

The funds from the sale will be used to fit out the building in Signal Walk and to subsidise works required on three other libraries in the Borough.

The council officers considered three options:

1. Relocation of the library to one of three sites: Signal Walk, the Regal Building or Budgens.

2. Demolition of the existing building and rebuilding the library with flats above the building.

3. Do nothing (the library should stay in the existing building).

The officers’ report examines the three options and then recommends that the library be moved to rented premises in Signal Walk.

You can view the officers’ report by following the link below:

We have reviewed the report and do not agree with their analysis and we do not believe their recommendation will secure the long term viability of the library. We believe that the best option is option 3 (“Do nothing”) but that the Council should work with us to implement some cost neutral measures to address the criticisms they level at the current building, its location and its usage. We already have some well thought out ideas.

To read our critical analysis of the Officers’ report follow this link.

The existing library building is the only Council owned community facility in Highams Park. During our consultations over the past two years many residents have expressed how important the library is to them and how they would like to see it open for greater community use. We are considering applying to have the building listed as an asset of community value.

We think that it is important that before they meet on 12th July, the Council Cabinet

is made aware of the inaccuracies and misleading statements that have been made in the Council Officer’s report, and we (as The Highams Park Planning Group) intend to email all Cabinet members expressing our concerns. We will send them a copy of our analysis and will make them aware that large numbers of Highams Park residents are concerned about this proposal.

We have set up an online petition led by the Highams Park Planning Group, The Highams Park Forum, and The Highams Park Society which we should be grateful if you would sign if you agree with our position. We will draw cabinet members’ attention to this petition. You can access the petition by clicking on this link: Petition to Save Hale End Library Before it is too Late

The content of this page and a hard copy of the petition are available on the HPPG website by clicking on this link: Hale End Library News Post

Thank you for your support.

Signed by the chairs of Highams Park Planning Group, Highams Park Forum and Highams Park Society