ARC court case won by former Friern Barnet Library activists
The Arnos Grove Resource Centre (ARC)
Friern Barnet Library activists move on to new project in Enfield Borough in an attempt to fight austerity, homelessness and unjust squatting laws
Community activists – previously caretakers of Friern Barnet Library and now residing at the Arnos Family Resource Centre (ARC), 321A Bowes Road, N11 1BA – won their court case against Enfield Council on March 11 2013 at the Barnet County Court. Many of the activists arrived at court to defend the case being brought by Enfield Council for possession of the property, accompanied by several members of the Friern Barnet community, who also sent over 20 letters of support.
The judge threw out the case because Enfield’s barrister missed the court hearing. The judge also commented there were procedural errors with Enfield Council’s paperwork.
This means that the activists are to remain in the space, giving them the opportunity to provide community workshops and to negotiate a deal with the council, thus hopefully preventing more taxpayers’ money being squandered. Pete Phoenix, a veteran community organiser and part of the FB Library campaign and Occupy movement, said “We have constantly offered to negotiate with Enfield Council as we did with Barnet Council. We hope that money can be saved on costly court cases and that more arrangements for temporary use can be made, between property owners of some of the 1.4 million empty buildings in the UK and groups who need homes and community space. The new law on squatting has already led to people freezing to death this winter. We want solutions to the housing crisis. Homes for all, not jails!”
The community activists are using the former family resource centre to provide activities such as skill-sharing and workshops with a focus on health, art and education. The centre has been opened up to provide spaces for a variety of community groups. The activists are hoping to form a mutual agreement with the council to keep the building accessible for the use of the community.