Well, it was great news that Brent Council made the decision in December 2012 to accept our nomination and to include the library on its list of community assets as part of the Community Right to Bid section of the Localism Act.
The Friends of Kensal Rise Library submitted its application for the nomination on 30th October 2012.
All Souls College argued in its representations to the council, when they were informed that the building had been nominated as an asset of community value, that such a listing would jeopardise the sale of the building to its chosen developer, Platinum Revolver. Would jeopardise the building of six flats and a small space for a library.
Now they are trying to say they are exempt from the Community Right to Bid because they have entered into a ‘binding agreement’ (on 26th November 2012) and have subsequently exchanged contracts (on Feb 1st).
If they were exempt because of their ‘binding agreement’ (which was actually an ‘option agreement’ with the buyer having the right to exercise an option to purchase the Kensal Rise library) why did they bother at all to engage with the process of representation?
Why not simply argue that they need not engage with the process as it did not apply to them?
The more cynical amongst us might believe that All Souls rushed into its agreement with Platinum Revolver in order to circumvent the Act, after all they knew that an application had been made to have the library listed as an asset of community value before they signed their ‘binding agreement’.
And there are those amongst us who find it hard to believe that such an august and illustrious Oxford College could be guilty of such treachery.
Oh the honeyed public words they have uttered! The sense of entitlement of one of the richest Colleges in Oxford!
Oxford academics don’t shaft communities for financial gain, do they?
Brent Council has asked the College for more information about their ‘binding agreement’ and should have a response by Friday.
We will keep you updated with developments.