STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS!

BARNET'S PLANS VIOLATE THEIR OWN PLANNING REGULATIONS.  PLEASE LODGE AN OBJECTION AND SHARE WIDELY NOW!


How to Make an Objection

The Application example here is: East Finchley Library 

 Proposed change of use of one-third of library from Community to Office use. 


HERE ARE A NUMBER OF POINTS THAT COULD BE MADE IN YOUR OBJECTIONS:

The full description of the planning application is below or you can find it at

 https://publicaccess.barnet.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=OHKG6VJIK7900


16/7700/FUL  Part change of use of library (Use Class D1) to provide 193 sqm of office floorspace

(Use Class B1) along with associated minor alterations to the external facade of the existing building 

East Finchley Library 226 High Road London N2 9BB
Points that could be made in any objection. (The author apologies for the occasional  techie language!)


Ways Barnet's Plans violate planning rules to point out in your objection:


  1. The London Plan

This was prepared by the Mayor of London and to which all London boroughs must consider

in construction/planning projects. It advises in Policy 3.16:“Protection and enhancement of social infrastructure”

that DPDs (Boroughs own plans) should assess the need for socialinfrastructure and community facilities

in their area,

and ensure that they are met wherever possible. New facilities should be provided within easy reach of walking

andpublic transport of their target population. Net loss must be resisted and increased provision sought.


Barnet's planning application for changing East Finchley Library involves a:

  •  32% reduction in floor space for library use.
  • Although longer opening hours are proposed this comes at asevere cost
    • Lack of professional staff covering the work,
    • Closure of toilets outside of staffed times– the majority of the time --
    • Restricted access by PIN number which means:
      • Children are unable to access the library for the majority of the time on their own and;
      • Removal of computer access for students, older peopleand others who often do not have access to such facilities at home.
      • This is clearly a net loss of community useand thus contrary to London Plan policy and is a ground to refuse the application  -PLEASE POINT THIS OUT

​​2. Barnet's OWN Policies- DM13

Barnet’s own planning policy pertinent to this case is Policy DM13:Community and education uses (this phrase includes libraries)

Section a: Loss of community or educational use. Loss of community or educational use will only be acceptable in exceptional circumstances where:

  • New community or education use of at least equivalent quality or quantity are provided on the site or at a suitable alternative location; 
  • There is no demand for continued community or education use, and that the site has been marketed effectively for such use.


No exceptional planning circumstances exist in this case.

The decision to reduce library space by a third of its size is a political choice not a planning one. The building is a purpose-built library which should continue to be used for such a use. This would also be compatible with its listed building status where the continuation of the use a building has been designed for is a material consideration.

 The only 'marketing' undertaken, effectively through the library consultation process, regarding the future use of the site has shown conclusively that there is a growing demand for the library to continue in that use.East Finchley Library has experienced an 18% INCREASE IN CHILDREN'S FICTION BORROWING in the last five years demonstrating the clear case for continuing the use. (Click here for more information on increased children's borrowing at other librariesNo evidence has been submitted to show that there is no longer a use for the site and thus the application should be refused. 


3.The Council at para 14.1.8 of its Development Management Document helpfully sets out criteria against which planning applications for the future use of community facilities should be assessed:


14.1.8 The following factors (in bold and italicised) should be evidenced when considering theloss of any community or educational use


Does the facility meet the needs of a specific section of the community e.g. older people or religious/faith community?
 

YES IT DOES! The library serves all sections of the community including religious and faith communities and specifically meets the needs of older people as a safe, warm and welcoming space for social interaction, for access to computers, newspapers, books etc. all of which have been shown to improve the health and wellbeing of citizens. Cutting the provision in the manner proposed especially through closure of toilets for most of the time when the building is open will significantly and detrimentally affect the ability of older people to use the facility –as indeed will be the case with mother and younger children.


• Can these needs be met by another local community facility or proposed facility?(i.e. a replacement)?
 
NO! And none is being proposed.
 
Could improving the facility strengthen the demand for its use?
Improving the existing facility by provision of a lift and maintaining staffing levels, book stock, computer facilities would all help. This current proposal is a detrimental stepproviding a lift only FOR PRIVATE USE ONLY is a slap in the face for the library which has needed such a facility for years to benefit local people with a disability and open the upstairs hall for wider community use.


Could it be used for another community use?
It was built as a library and should continue to be used in its entirety as a library.


How accessible is the building to public transport, walking and cycling and other local
services such as shops and could this access be improved?

The building is reasonably accessible to public transport, walking and cycling which is probably one of the reasons for the library being built in this location in the first place. There is no need to change it.
 
Is there an overriding community need for another use?
NO! There is an overriding community need for a well-resourced public library on this site.


• Has effective marketing been carried out?
Effective marketing is continuous active marketing for a period of 12 months at an appropriate level both for rent and sale which can be agreed in advance with the council (at pre-application if appropriate) with no interest expressed in its existing use or other community facility uses.
Marketing has only demonstrated the growing need and demand from an expanding population for a library use in this location!


Other points to make are:

When is the application for Listed Building consent to alter this listed building in a manner which would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest to be made? 





ABOUT PLANNING APPLICATIONS & POLICIES:

  • Planning applications are determined on the basis of ‘planning considerations’ which can be many and various. 
  • A planning application will also be assessed against the planning policies that Barnet has set out in its own local plan.
  • TRY TO REFER TO PLANNING POLICIES when submitting an objection to the planning application and show that the proposed change of use does not meet the criteria set out.  See more detail on how this is the case on this page

HOW DO I DO MAKE AN OBJECTION?

The application can be found on the Barnet  Council website at
https://publicaccess.barnet.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=OHKG6VJIK7900

It's a good idea to read the criteria first, jot a few notes and then fill in the online form:


There is a button towards the top right of this page titled ‘Make a comment’.


Click this and you will be taken to the page where you can make your objection and give your details.




Barnet Council is now engaged in the planning process to formalise the change to our library spaces: 

removing 50% of public library space to make available for commercial lettings.

Below is some advice from one of our members, a retired Planner on how we might object.


This advice is written for East Finchley branch but you should be able to adapt most of it for other branch libraries.
Planning Applications have gone in - NOW is your opportunity to object.

PLEASE ACT NOW:WITHIN A MONTH YOU WILL LOSE THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE AN OBJECTION

AND THE DEMOLITION IS SCHEDULED TO COMMENCE IN FEBRUARY, 2017

PROFESSIONAL GUIDANCE ON HOW TO LODGE A PLANNING OBJECTION