• Easter Update – FKRL Supports the new planning application 14/0846

    Save Kensal Rise Library – the campaign continues!

    Last year, FKRL opposed the developer’s planning application. We thought the library space was unworkable: it was less than that offered now – and half was going to be in a  basement with no natural light. We did not think that was acceptable.

    This year, FKRL has agreed to support the new community (D1) space within the new planning application. We believe it is our best chance of keeping a library for our community.
    Why has FKRL agreed?
    As a result of FKRL’s campaigning, the contract between All Souls and the developer obliges the developer to reserve 1500 square feet for library and community use. Now, after further campaigning, the developer has been persuaded to set aside more and better community space in exchange for our agreement.
    Any campaign involves difficult decisions at key moments. FKRL’s Trustees agonised about the implications of signing such an agreement. None of us got into this battle originally because we wanted to see flats in the building.
    But we now have an improved offer of a viable library and community space – roughly two thirds of the ground floor – rent free in perpetuity and refurbished. Only the ground floor was accessible to the public in the former library building.
    Walking away from the offer in the hope that we might eventually manage to acquire the whole building (from an owner who does not want to sell, and at a cost of millions of pounds we don’t have ) would be irresponsible. We would run the risk of no space at all.
    Like any property deal, there is no guarantee until contracts are exchanged. What we have achieved is an agreement that we are the preferred tenants, nominated by All Souls, as per their contract with the developer. Trust is required from all three parties at this stage. We look forward to signing a tenancy agreement once planning permission is granted.
    After nearly four years of campaigning, we at last have a chance of something, rather than a chance of nothing
    We are looking forward to the day when we can put all our energies into creating a great, free  library and community space for all the residents of Kensal Green and Kensal Rise.
    What You Can Do
    For the best chance of retaining a library for the community, FKRL are supporting the application in the following way:
    Support planning application 14/0846
    I give my support re Planning Application 14/0846:
    1. For D1 community library and space
    2. For FKRL to be tenants of the space
    If you agree, please join us by writing the same, then sign and send to Brent Planning  before April 28th 2014.
    To send – go online to Brent Planning
     and using the link against this planning application record “Comment on this planning application” or send your comments by email torobin.sedgwick@brent.gov.uk or by post to:
    Robin Sedgwick
    Planning Application 14/0846
    Planning Department
    Brent Civic Centre
    Engineer’s Way
    Wembley HA9 0FJ
    Thank you for your continuing support for the campaign to Save Kensal Rise Library.
    Margaret Bailey
    Chair FKRL
    and on behalf of all Trustees.


    Why FKRL Decided To Accept Kensal Rise Library Re-Development Offer
    Many of you know that the FKRL Trustees recently decided to support the community (D1) aspect of the library building’s re-development. We signed an agreement in good faith with All Souls College and the developer to this effect, trusting this would strengthen our position as future operators of the library and community space.


    The proposal provides approximately two thirds (186m2) of the ground floor for community use, with FKRL as the ‘preferred’ tenants. The London Evening Standard called this: ‘a landmark agreement with developers that could save Kensal Rise Library’ (25th March 2014).


    We feel you should know how we came to make this momentous decision and the factors that we were obliged to take into account.
    Throughout almost four years of campaigning and negotiating, initially with Brent Council, and more recently with All Souls College and the developer, FKRL’s objectives has been, and will remain, to re-establish a library and community space in the building. We trust and hope that our decision offers the community the best chance of this.


    The decision is not without risk. However, there were risks involved in the other options open to us which we ultimately rejected. These included the following:




    • The provision of rent-free space is an important factor for the sustainability of a community library. The current proposal is for rent-free community space, as this forms part of the agreement between All Souls College and the developer. Even if further space were to be available for community use, there is no guarantee that it would be rent-free.
    • Although the upstairs parts of the library were used for archive and staff purposes until the library closed, the ground floor is the only part of the library that has been accessible to the public in recent years, and planning officers noted and remarked on this when we met them in October 2013.


    • FKRL worked hard to persuade the Council to protect the entire building as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) in 2012. Just before the Council designated it as an ACV the College and the developer entered into a binding agreement that meant the moratorium period of six months that we might have used to prepare a bid for the building could not apply.
    • We may have prepared a bid to buy the building, but there would have been no obligation on the College to accept our bid.
    • If change of use from community to part-residential/part-community use was refused and the whole building remained in D1 (community) use as an ACV, the developer could rent it out for other community uses: for example, as a religious place of worship, doctor’s surgery, or school. The planning process cannot dictate that the community space must be used as a library.
    • There is no guarantee that any of the space will be used for a library or for anything that this community might want or need, nor who will be able to use the space.
    • ACV does not determine ownership. The owner remains the same. The community does not own the building.


    • If the most recent planning application is rejected, the developer could go to Appeal or submit another planning application. This could continue for years, during which there would probably not be any community access to the building.


    • If the developer decided to sell the building, substantial seven figure sums would be needed not only to purchase but also to refurbish. The developer would be under no obligation to sell it to FKRL or to the community.
    • There is no guarantee that any new purchaser would be obliged to grant a rent free space space to the community.


    FKRL made their decision after very carefully analysing the risk of losing the space proposed in the latest planning application, We have always endeavoured to act fairly, honestly and openly in our negotiations with the other parties and have entered into this agreement in good faith.
    Kensal Rise Library’s last librarian – before it was closed – said of FKRL’s achievement and of the space currently on offer:


    I’m sorry you weren’t able to get as much space as you wanted, obviously the more the better. I think though that you’ve still got enough space to have a really good community library. There are certainly nice libraries that are smaller than the area you’ve got.
    You have done a fantastic job in my opinion in saving the library. I really hope that as a group you don’t let any disappointment about not getting everything you wanted overshadow what you have achieved. The odds were stacked against you and the people running Brent Libraries were determined Kensal should close. I’m sure that you will make a success of running the library. It really will be valued by local people after the fight that has been put up to save it.
    Karl Hemsley (25 March 2014).


    We are encouraged by the support of the Lead Member for Libraries at Brent Council, Cllr Roxanne Mashari, and by the present and future backing of Ms Tessa Awe, CEO of Brent CVS (Community, Voluntary Sector). There is tremendous community support for the library and the campaign to save it, and we know local people will embrace a new community library if, as we hope, we are given the opportunity to run it.


    (FKRL have not been asked to comment on the whole of the planing application, only on the space proposed for D1 (community) use in the redevelopment. The Council is consulting the local community about the planning application in the usual way and everyone is free to comment on all aspects of the proposal.)




    Trustees of Friends of Kensal Rise Library


More News

  • March Update: Planning application submitted for Kensal Rise Library building Hi Everyone, The developer, Andrew Gillick, has submitted his planning application for the Kensal Rise Library building (see below at end).   The Trustees of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL) have been trying to negotiate with the developer and the College since November. We were offered three quarters of the ground floor.   The Trustees agreed, in principle, ...
  • Update – 11 Feb 2014 Hi Everyone, Fraudulent Email Enquiry Update We have received the following information regarding the fraudulent email investigation from Cllr Mashari who has been updated by Brent Council’s Director of Legal and Procurement. On Friday the police requested additional evidence and information in respect of the fraudulent email case, and this has been provided to them by the Council’s ...
  • February Update Hi Everyone, 1. Thank you Thank you to everyone who came to demonstrate against the destruction of the Pop Up Library. To our local councillors, and Cllr Roxanne Mashari the Lead Member for the Environment (which includes libraries), to our friends that tweeted support like Maggie Gee and Philip Pullman. To the volunteers from the community, special mention Josephine, who ...
  • January 2014 Update Hi Everyone, 1. Negotiations about the library space Following refusal of planning permission last September, the developer and his architect are submitting fresh proposals for the library building to the planning committee of the council. Negotiations with regard to the space reserved for the community have been on going since before Christmas in so far as we ...
  • UPDATE! Hi Everyone, We have received a communication from Mr Wolf Erdmann, architect for Mr Andrew Gillick, regarding the new proposals for the Kensal Rise Library building. At the Trustees’ meeting of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library last night,  it was agreed that we have the basis for a constructive discussion. There’s still a way to go but it is ...

Upcoming Events

  • Christmas carols at the pop-up!
  • Art, Fraud and Boards Hi Everyone, 1. Celebrate ‘No to Planning Permission!’ with The Walls of Colour at the Pop up Library, Saturday 28th September 10am to 1pm. To celebrate the refusal by the council to grant planning permission to put flats and a small space for the community in the Kensal Rise Library building  our campaign will be taking part in ...
  • Pub Quiz, Tuesday 16 July 2013, 8pm start at The Masons Arms
  • Public Meeting Reminder! Hi Everyone, 1. Public Meeting Reminder! A reminder that we are holding a public meeting at 7.30pm on Tuesday 21st May in St Martin’s Church, Mortimer Rd, Kensal Green (first street on the right from Kensal Green Tube as you walk up College Rd, about 1 minute walk). The Leader of Brent Council Cllr Muhammed Butt will be there and local ...
  • PUBLIC MEETING! The Save Kensal Rise Library Campaign will be holding a public meeting. 7.30pm Tuesday 21st May at St Martin’s Church, Mortimer Road, Kensal Green. Campaign update Options Way forward Everyone welcome! Thank you to Graham and the PCC of St Martin’s Church for letting us have the meeting in the church and for continuing to support the campaign. More details to follow.  
  • Brent SOS Libraries Brent SOS Libraries Annual Meeting Sunday 19th May 2013 3pm to 5pm Barham Community Library 428 High Road, Wembley HA9 6AH 5 minutes walk from Wembley Central Station (Bakerloo line and Overground). Bus numbers 18, 92 and 182 stop outside the library. All library lovers are welcome. Come and find out what has been happening across the borough, especially about new and proposed community libraries, and share ...
  • Save Kensal Rise library quiz night at The Island on 12 March, 8pm start.
  • Save Kensal Rise Library Quiz Night at The Island pub, 12 Mar @ 7.30pm THE ISLAND pub, 123 College Rd NW10 5HA (tel:020 8960 0693), will be hosting a SAVE KENSAL RISE LIBRARY QUIZ NIGHT on TUESDAY 12 MARCH, 8pm start. Tickets £5 available from The Island in advance or on the night. Teams of five. Make your own team or find a team on the night.  
  • National Libraries Day on Saturday 9th February 2013 National Libraries Day is about celebrating the value and importance of all types of libraries and library staff. In Kensal Rise we are marking the day by displaying re-designed vintage posters to draw attention to the closure of libraries throughout England as well as in our community and greater Brent. BREAKING: The Friends of Kensal Rise ...
  • Selma James talk at Kilburn Library 7th February 6.30pm The Global Women’s Strike have sent an invitation to us to attend a talk by Selma James the co-founder of the Crossroads Women’s centre who is to give a talk about an anthology of her writing at Kilburn Library (details below). Dear Friends Many of us have been following your various campaigns to save the libraries in ...
  • ‘Christmas Carol’ and carol singing at Preston Community Library, 20-22 Dec. A’Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens will be read in public over two days at the reading room at Preston Community Library. This is a Preston Community Library and Friends of Preston Library Event at 235 Preston Rd( 2 mins. Preston Road Station). Commencing this Thursday 20 Dec. 2-4pm and continuing on Friday 21st Dec. 2-4pm. The end ...
  • Carols at the pop up library on Thursday 20 Dec. at 6.30pm Thursday 20th December at 6.30pm at the pop up: Mulled wine, cakes and the sharing of festive cheer! Bring candles! And strong voices of course! Save Kensal Rise Library Christmas cards are on sale. Pritesh and Jaymini Patel’s shop (corner of College Rd and Clifford Gardens). £5 for 10.
  • St Mark’s Church Xmas Fair on Sat. 8 Dec. 1pm-4pm Join the fun at St. Mark’s Church Christmas Fair on Saturday 8 December between 1-4pm where Friends of Kensal Rise Library will also have  a stall. There’ll be a raffle, face painting, homemade cakes, wreath making and kids’ crafts… ..Little Duckling, Somerville scarves, Merry Widows, Emma Harpin and much more. Adults £1, Kids free. St Mark’s Church is at ...
  • Pub Quiz at The Preston in Wembley on Mon. 3rd Dec. 2012 **************       PUB QUIZ       ************** It’s quiz time again at The Preston on Monday 3rd Decemeber 2012. The event is being arranged by the Friends of Preston Library. All proceeds to the library campaign. Tickets £5.00 (£3.00 concessions). Doors: 7.30 – 8.00 pm start at The Preston pub, 161 Preston Road, Wembley, HA9 8NG. http://brentlibraries.wordpress.com/ or visit Save Preston Library on Facebook. RAFFLE! ...
  • Leaflets at Kensal Green Underground Station We will be distributing leaflets at Kensal green tube with an update and details of the Oxford trip on Thursday morning from 7.30-9am. If you can help let me know.
  • The Save Kensal Rise library campaign goes to Oxford! On Saturday 10th November we will be going to Oxford and would like as many of you as possible to join us. We will be appealing to the Fellows of the College to come and speak to us. Buses (free) will be leaving from the Kensal Rise Library at 9.30 and will be returning about ...
  • 10th November: Speak Up For Libraries Conference Speak up for librariesBringing together library campaigners and supporters to build on and share ideas and skills

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Kensal Rise Library in snow Kensal Rise Library - opened by Mark Twain Inside Kensal Rise library