Tory councillor claims credit for saving Friern Barnet Library despite voting to close it!

Labour councillors have reacted angrily to a Conservative leaflet that claims Tory Coppetts councillor, Kate Salinger, "fought a fervent campaign within Barnet's Conservatives to save Friern Barnet Library and not sell its building."

But minutes of the Full Council meeting in April 2011, show that Cllr Kate Salinger voted for the Conservative council's Strategic Library Review that proposed the closure of Friern Barnet Library and proposed that the building be sold-off.

 

She also subsequently voted against a Labour Group Budget amendment that reversed the closure of the Library.

 
Cllr Salinger wrote in another autumn 2011 edition of the Conservative 'InTouch' leaflet:
 

"I am an avid supporter of the Library Service. Last year I was happy to tell you that there were no plans to close Friern Barnet Library,as that is what I have been told.

 

Unfortunately, since then, the economy has spiralled downwards and all council departments have been asked to make 20% cuts.The Library Service was not exempt from this and so a Library Strategy was developed. This proposes that North Finchley and Friern Barnet Libraries be sold and a new Library be created at the Artsdepot in North Finchley.

 

 The difficulty in Coppetts Ward is that we are the only ward with two libraries and to retain two while other wards do not have one at all may have assisted in the proposals that were made.

 

The final decision will be made at the end of October. Local people have until then to come up with a plan that will save the Library and assist in the cost cutting exercise that has to be undertaken."

 

Two community bids were submitted to the Council to run the Library and make the savings - both were dismissed by the Conservatives.
 
Key facts:
 

  • Cllr Kate Salinger voted to close the Library and sell the building
  • As recently as February 2014 Cllr Kate Salinger did not support the Save Friern Barnet Library Village Green Application
  • There is no record (in the minutes) of Cllr Kate Salinger attending any Save Friern Barnet Library Group meetings
  • Cllr Kate Salinger was not seen attending the court hearings at which the Conservative council were attempting to evict the Friern Barnet Library 'Licensees'

 
 
Coppetts Labour councillor, Barry Rawlings said: “It’s unbelievable that Kate is trying to claim credit for a "fervent campaign" against the closure of Friern Barnet Library when she voted to close it. Clearly the Tories are so worried about losing her seat they need to try and pull the wool over residents eyes."

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