Still here and still fighting.
The committee will be meeting this week and one of the items we will be discussing is the setting of a date for a public meeting. There may be choices to be made and at this juncture of the campaign it would be good for us all to meet and discuss our options.
1. Community Right to Bid and Binding Agreement: We still don’t know if the ‘binding agreement’ between All Souls College and the developer is legally binding. And that is because the College is not letting anyone see it, claiming ‘commercial sensitivity’. The council has not yet made a final decision about whether they need to see it in order to make a decision about whether or not the College is exempt from the Community Right to Bid. We are still pushing, through our lawyer, for sight of the agreement and continue to argue that the council cannot make a decision about whether the college is exempt from the Community Right to Bid unless it has seen the document and furthermore it is a court that should make the decision about its legality. The council can ‘take a view’ but the decision about whether something is legal or not rests with a judge. Freedom of Information requests have been submitted to the College also requesting sight of the agreement.
Meanwhile the building is still designated as an asset of community value and this should be a ‘material consideration’ when it comes to planning.
It is worth remembering that it was Brent Council who decided to list the building, the whole building, as an asset of community value and they rejected All Souls’ request to only include the 1500 sq ft space the College is offering the community as the area to be designated an asset of community value.
2. Negotiations with Developer over a space for the library. We had hoped we could work out a more promising, sustainable space but it is proving very, very difficult.
The developer who is currently seeking pre-planning advice is very confident that he will get permission from the planning committee of the council for change of use of the building from D1 Community use to Residential Use (six flats and a small ‘community hub’ – he’s been told he’s not to call it a ‘library’ by planning officers).
Anyway, the developer has said he does not want or require our input but would like our support when his planning application is submitted and he has also said we would be free to support his application as part of the public consultation should we wish to do so.
3. Questionnaire: We will be compiling accounts of the value that Kensal Rise Library has for the community – past and present – and will be sending it out soon (online and hard copies). Please be on the look-out for it as community participation will be very important to the planning process.
We hope it will be available this week to send to you and it will also be on our website and there will be paper copies at the pop up library..
4. The Indie Book Show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=So4XeE5wPLM held a party at the Paradise in April in support of the campaign. Thank you very much to Emily for organising and Nadia for producing the video and also the Paradise for hosting the event. We will have a link on our website www.savekensalriselibrary.org with photos of the event.
5. The Pop Up Library continues to provide not only a service but also somewhere to find out about the campaign. Volunteers still needed to keep it going and if you can spare some time please email me.
We are doing a bit of a tidy again this weekend, on Saturday between 11 and 3pm – if you would like to help it would be appreciated.
There is no doubt this has been a long, involved and at times bitter campaign with a very determined opposition to the wishes of this community.
We remain hopeful that there are ways of saving our library and one of the most heartening aspects of the campaign is that we know we can count on our community for its continued support.
Taking the campaign forward and how we are to do that is something we can all decide together.
Regards and thanks,