Friends Of Highgate Library – Shepherds Hill Victory For The Campaign And For Local Library Users


Friends of Highgate Library – Shepherds Hill are delighted by the news from JLAC that in the face our our coherent, logical and consistent responses to their ideas to shoehorn Highgate Library from it’s much loved, current location into Jacksons Lane Arts Centre, they have now decided after all the money paid by Haringey to fund the feasibility: £24,000 without ever asking us the local library users or tax payers, whether this is how we wanted our money spent, to not go ahead with relocating Highgate Library. Imagine what that money could have done for our existing library?

From CEO of Jacksons Lane, James Tilston in today;s JLAC blog: “Proposals to consider relocating Highgate Library into a renovated Jacksons Lane will not now be taken forward. A feasibility study that explored a number of co-location options, showed that the estimated receipt from selling the existing library site would not be enough to cover the costs of creating the new library and that Jacksons Lane may lose revenue as a result of space lost to accommodating the library.”

All along we raised concerns not only for the feasibility of relocating a well used and very accessible library into a Grade 2 listed former church building on a busy road, but also in each of the plans drawn up by Katy Marks there were clear compromises, not only for the library, but also for JLAC, who would lose vital space to make their business grow.
We do indeed wish them a bright future, but wish that they had asked locals first before embarking something clearly so unpopular and to the detriment of the community: many of whom love and use both spaces.

Our work will continue: we will be at the JLAC public meeting: details here –

“Jacksons Lane will host a public meeting at 6.30pm on Monday, September 18 to present an overview of the feasibility study, answer questions, and present further information about their ambitions for the future of the building.”

Where they will showcase their on-going designs, which you can view here:-

We will be hosting our own feasibility meeting for a future vision for Highgate Library in it’s current location. We don’t have £24,000 from Haringey Council to fund this, but we do have local support and architects creating plans to match ideas, in response to our local library users survey, for what people want from the space. Please take 2 minutes to do the survey, if you haven’t yet:

We are collating ideas for evening and afternoon classes for children and adults. Classes which will use all the space and the unique garden, Highgate Library has on offer.

We are hosting a FOHL Guy Fawkes Autumn Party at Highgate Library, 2 – 4pm on 04/11, entrance free and all very welcome. Local author Polly Faber has agreed to do readings from her books, more information on this to follow.

And we will continue to hold Haringey Council to account, because until we started campaigning, there was no discussion that JLAC would have their match fund from Haringey if the feasibility report showed it was not feasible. What was said until we attended the Cabinet meeting of Haringey Council in June, was the library had to be sold to match fund AND that there would be no public engagement.

And while we managed to campaign vigorously and maintain a presence at every meeting, without a future with a public engagement process, we were worried by the utter lack of accountability and recourse with these very unpopular and unnecessary plans.
With this in mind therefore with a background where last year Highgate Library had no printer and only last month no wifi, while we read reports from Haringey that it loves libraries, with the Save Hari campaign highlighting the loss of every single children’s librarian in the Borough, while Cllr Kobe’s quoted as saying this: “We always welcome innovative suggestions for making the most of Haringey’s fantastic assets, which is why we were happy to consider relocating Highgate Library to Jacksons Lane – which had the potential to create an exciting new cultural hub,” when the reality of the offer was a shoehorning, a complete lack of understanding of what SEN users needs are, and a loss of a wonderful existing Edwardian building, with so much to offer, if run properly, there is nothing innovative or exciting about it. Highgate Library is an enduring asset to our local community and long may it remain so.

Notes to Editors:

T: @HighgateStays

FOHL Guy Fawkes Autumn Party: 2 – 4pm 04/11/2017
1 Shepherds Hill, Highgate, London N6 5QJ
Entrance Free.

Our Highgate Library Remains Feasibility meeting: Date in Autumn TBC.


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