Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Council Cabinet Member for Resources & Culture claims  loss = 0%

Haringey Council Leader claims  loss = 20% 


Liberal Democrat spokesman on Libraries (me)                   
estimate Overall
  loss = 50%

estimate re. Young Adults, Childrens'                   
Library and Childrens' Garden area, alone  
loss = 75%

Does the area of the current, safe enclosed Childrens Garden not represent an "activity" that would be lost? Under the plans, It would become the main entrance for the new Council Customer Service Centre and a North-South thoroughfare to and from the Leisure Centre.

The above graphic shows the proposed new back door or 'poor door'.

It'd likely be heavily trafficked and it's right alongside the proposed Childrens' Library. What remains of the current area for children, would hold rows of PCs plus a single bookcase (can you spot it?) and it's being passed off as a 'Childrens Library'.

  • The upper floor would house no books. One part would become a shrunken, cramped "quiet area", that is unlikely to be quiet, given the adjacent activities, that include a "Children's Play Area" of 16.1 square metres. You couldn't make it up!
  • The ground floor would be dominated by rows of PCs (there do appear to be a small number of bookcases, towering three shelves in height). Another quiet study area would be adjacent to two parking ticket vending machines (!?)

    One can imagine the scene: "Damn it Sharon, it's still not accepting my money". "Hurry up, there's people queuing Tracy. Hit it on the side again!" I made that up, but Haringey's plans are real.

Clive Carter
Liberal Democrat Spokesman on Libraries

Tags for Forum Posts: Labour Cabinet, Marcus Garvey Library, another fine mess, arrogance, folly, ignorance, illiterate, incompetence, mistake, muck up

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Campaigners Are Worried For The Future Of A Treasured London Library
The Marcus Garvey Library in Tottenham is an important landmark for black Britons. Has its temporary closure by Haringey council been thought through?

Link to Buzzfeed article

The most shrieking klaxon in that brief is that there should have been no disruption to library services. It's there, multiple times, library must be kept open.  So if they couldn't work out a way to do it, why was the whole thing not sent back for a major review?

That all the work is happening with no planning permission, neither for the library nor for Apex House, seems to be a bit illegal???

The Brief pre-dates any "engagement" with the local community by half a year. The authorisation to proceed  with the works (the back door etc.) pre-dates the final date for public comment by some 24 hours. The works approval pre-dates any consideration by the Planning Committee by several weeks.

None of this is likely to be illegal: but it may be unlawful.

I have received an Opinion from the Council Legal Department to the effect that all is lawful, but their's are merely opinions and partisan at that, and have not been tested in Court.

Clive, a design brief document is used as part of the project management process. Are you sure this is the final version? When I worked as a project manager the design brief went through multiple revisions as circumstances changed and it's a live document, new risks and issues are added to it all the time. This seems to have only had one very minor amendment (from the control sheet at the start of the document) and at an early stage. It looks more like a draft to me rather than the finished one.

Michael you ask a good question. The Design Brief was supplied in response to the following question:

Please supply a copy of the brief sent to the Frankham Consultancy Group in respect of the  redevelopment  of Marcus Garvey Library.  (If more than one brief, then the final and most detailed brief.)

(My emphasis) The document was supplied with the covering note:

Please find attached the design brief that was issued to Frankham Consultancy Group at the outset of the Marcus Garvey Library CSC – Refurbishment / Adaptations. You will notice that the title of this document relates to the Service Relocation of Apex House and was an initial brief, prior to a feasibility study being undertaken. Following the feasibility, the focus of the project centred more around the refurbishment of the library in general and therefore, the project name was changed to reflect this. 

The brief also contains estimated budgets and dates.  However, as with the project title, these are all pre-feasibility assumptions and therefore, are different from the reality of budget and timescales following the
feasibility study and design development to date.  As such, some of the content is no longer accurate as the initial Design Brief does not change as the scheme develops.

Useful question, Michael. I will ask the campaigners if they've checked to see how many versions were produced. If indeed there were a number of changes big and small.

I'd guess it's always interesting to see what assumptions are made at the start of any project. And how far there's willingness to listen and learn and modify. They certainly didn't try to listen to and learn from local residents.

A writer who strongly influenced my ideas is the late Donald Schön. I'm sure you know his books. 'The Reflective Practitioner' has at its centre consideration of the relationships between architects as experts, as mentors for their students; and in dialogue with their clients. 

In 'Organisational Learning' he and Chris Argyris proposed the concept of "Double-Loop Learning".  So your description of the multiple revision process would be a series of 'single loops'. Drafts are evaluated through reflection and then corrected or improved.

In 'double-loop learning', the whole activity becomes open to challenge and reflection within a larger "cycle". The participants think about the fact of engaging in the activity and the underpinning assumptions - implicit and explicit. 

In other words, they might ask: 'What are we actually doing here? Why? Does it work? Are there better ways to think about and tackle the problems we face?

As you've probably realised, I haven't an especially high opinion of the capacity or willingness of the KoberTories to reflect on or learn anything at all. Let alone to ask big, possibly disturbing, possibly exciting and creative new questions.

P.S. Remembering about Donald Schön I started listening again to the recording of his 1970 Reith Lectures "The Loss of the Stable State".  What subtle and interesting stuff.

Clive, I've just read your reply to Michael Anderson. Doesn't fit the model he describes. Yet we know there were some changes in response to the criticisms. For example, a few fig-leaves to cover up their ineptitude on child safeguarding.

The more we know the worse it seems.

You probably know that Cllr Stuart McNamara is trying to locate an alternative site for a children's garden "within the curtilage" of the Leisure Centre. A positive helpful step. But unfortunately a "repair" to council-inflicted damage which should never have been done.

For people on HoL who may not know this small garden, it's not by any means the most wonderful strip of green in the borough. It is narrow and small. Its conversion from a patch of weeds, litter and some rubble by the Library Service grabbed an opportunity to try to make something nice in an enclosed safe fenced space *immediately* adjoining the Children's Library. My photos July 2009 - January 2011 show the changes.

Overall, what's happening to Marcus Garvey Library is unnecessary destruction. Whoever decided to make the main entrance at the rear - destroying much of the garden and in my view putting children at risk - seems not to have bothered asking or listening to people who know about child safeguarding, and about the layout of libraries.

ON Monday night, the Planning Committee will have before it the latest iteration (work is already underway of course).

It features a small, token space for a children's garden that is accessed down a ramp by the new door, a door that has variously been described as a poor door and as an emergency exit.

In practice that new entrance would likely be heavily trafficked. I question whether many would use the new pocket-handkerchief garden, as it would be quite different in feel and character: and size.

There have been modifications along the way since the first/last Brief, the most notable is the closure of the library for at least half a year to allow for installation of the new door (and a few other bits and bobs costing £2 to £3 million).

What is clear – as if we did not know – is where the project started from and why. The excellent video produced by the campaigners shows the amount of library space to be lost: approximately half.

Clive, I think you've ended up with the wrong document. This is the brief for the consultant to produce a scheme, not the project document for the scheme itself where I would assume they had the correct consultation dates and so on. It's very unusual for the details of a project to remain precisely the same from conception to final proposal. That's how you end up building housing estates over sinkholes in St Albans!
On a seperate thread I mentioned the drawbacks of Freedom of Information requests. You get an answer to EXACTLY the question asked, which isn't always the right question.



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