Proposal for the future of library provision in East Barnet and New Barnet
We asked residents for their views on the proposal to relocate the library in East Barnet to the proposed future leisure centre at the Victoria Recreation Ground in New Barnet. In particular, residents were asked:
- whether they tended to agree or disagree with the proposal
- how likely they would be to use the library should it be located within the proposed new leisure centre
- for reasons why the would/would not be likely to use the library in the proposed new location.
In order to enable further understanding of individual responses, open ended questions were included inviting respondents to give their reasons in addition to questions establishing the respondents use of the current library in East Barnet. Key demographic questions were included at the end to help understand the views of different demographic groups.
Analysis of the questionnaire responses demonstrated that just under half of residents supported the opportunity whilst others, generally those who currently walked to the current library building, were less supportive of the proposal. Twenty three individuals agreed with the proposal to re-locate and re-provide the library and 26 preferred for the library to remain in its current location and building. Three did not know. Respondents who welcomed the proposal generally cited improved location for themselves or their families to make use of the library services, and the benefits to them and other residents of co-locating multiple services on one site. Respondents who preferred for the library to remain in its current location and building most commonly cited proximity of the current library building to their home as the reason.
The reaction of residents at the face-to-face drop-in sessions also varied although having had an opportunity to see the plans and talk to officers about the potential opportunities for co-locating services, many appreciated the advantages associated with the relocation and some were excited by the opportunity to undertake numerous activities at one venue in the future. More than half of comments made at the drop-in sessions were in favour of the proposal.
Following the 8 week consultation period a report was taken to the Policy and Resources Committee recommending the proposal to re-provide the Partnership library in East Barnet as part of the proposed new leisure facilities in the Victoria Recreation Ground, due to be completed in 2019. This recommendation took into consideration the outcome of the consultation and was made in view of the opportunity to provide modern, fit for purpose library facilities co-located with other leisure and café services (with increased footfall) together with the declining use of the current library in East Barnet and the age and condition of the current building. The Policy and Resources Committee approved the recommendation and subsequently the proposed leisure facility at the Victoria Recreation Ground was granted planning consent.