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Architectural Feasibility Study

James Tilston 24 May 2017

Jacksons Lane is working with architect Katy Marks of Citizens Design Bureau, who is looking at the feasibility of a multi-million pound building project to transform the Jacksons Lane site, possibly enabling Highgate Library to relocate there. Please visit: https://www.highgatelibraryandjacksonslane.net/

We hosted a round-table discussion on Wednesday 17th May at Jacksons Lane with Highgate Library Action Group (HLAG), members of the local community, and local Councillors, in which we gathered some informal feedback for this feasibility study. Tonight, Wednesday 24 May, HLAG will be talking about the idea at their AGM at Highgate Library, 7-9pm, before a programme of official community consultation events can be planned, commencing next month.

The feasibility study is in its very early stages and we are trying to talk to as many people as possible over the coming months to ensure a meaningful and informed process of consultation. No decisions have been made yet, but there are many conversations being had in the local community – some of which have resulted in some misunderstandings.

We would therefore like to take this opportunity to address those concerns:

There is no proposed merger between Jacksons Lane and Highgate Library.

The architectural feasibility study is considering whether there is enough space on the redeveloped Jacksons Lane site to house the library. This would involve an ambitious building project, creating new community facilities that could house both organisations, protecting and enhancing services into the future.

We are working hand in hand with the library – no one is considered a junior partner in the discussions.

Whilst the idea originally came from Jacksons Lane, we immediately sought to work with Highgate Library Action Group and the London Borough of Haringey to discuss whether they felt it was feasible.

Haringey Council has no plans to close the library or reduce library services in the area.

The feasibility study's first question is whether the physical space is available to house library facilities in the redeveloped site.

Jacksons Lane is financially robust.

Jacksons Lane has doubled its turnover in the last 7 years. We deliver world-class performances, classes and courses in our Jacksons Lane site, and have a dedicated team of Education and Outreach staff who work with young people and community groups right across the Borough.

The library would continue to be funded by Haringey Council.

There is no proposed merger – Jacksons Lane and Highgate Library would continue as two separate organisations, with separate funding streams. If it is feasible for both organisations to be based at Jacksons Lane, we will work together to explore how best to share the space based on research into what has worked well elsewhere and determine a model that suits both parties.

This idea has not arisen out of a need for Jacksons Lane to survive.

As a registered charity, we fundraise from a number of sources and are a proud National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England, which accounts for just 10% of our income. Other fundraising and philanthropic giving generates 18.5% of our income with the majority of our funds coming from Box Office and Earned Income. Founded by community activists over 40 years ago, Jacksons Lane exists to serve its community. Our aim is to serve the community and to create a visionary, best-in-class, cultural centre.

Can a building successfully house both organisations?

Katy Marks is a leading architect whose practice has been employed to consider the feasibility of this project and to ensure any resulting building design is thoughtful, user-friendly and allows for distinct areas for library activities.

Nothing has been decided.

The feasibility study, funded by Haringey Council, will investigate whether it may be physically, financially and generally possible to redevelop the site to house the library and Jacksons Lane side-by-side. The first question the architect is considering is whether there is enough space on the site to do this, without any reduction in service for either organisation.

Questions being considered include:

  1. If it were to move, should the library have its own separate entrance?
  2. Would being next door to Jacksons Lane drive more footfall to the library?
  3. Are there areas of the Jacksons Lane building that library users would like access to?
  4. Can services be enhanced by being in a modern, purpose-built space?
  5. Can Jacksons Lane and the Library both continue to deliver their full programme of activities, classes and courses in the redeveloped site?

The future of this idea is dependent on the conclusions of the architectural feasibility study, funding from the Arts Council England, and funding from other sources. We welcome input from the community and will be hosting future consultation events with HLAG and Haringey Council once Citizens Design Bureau have been able to ascertain the space requirements of both organisations. We aim for all parties to hold a joint consultation event on 22 June, but the details of this are yet to be confirmed – more information on this will follow.

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