Letter to Councillors from the Friends of Kensal Rise Library – your choice Brent – will you support our community?

Friends of Kensal Rise Library

Registered Charity: 1141606kensalriselibraryusers@hotmail.co.uk

12th August 2013

Dear Councillor

Help us protect and preserve the whole library building for the community

Property developer Andrew Gillick has submitted plans to the Council to put six luxury flats and a ‘cottage’ in the Kensal Rise Library building. The space reserved for the community is too small for the sustainable adult and children’s library and related services that the community wants and needs. In just one month (July), over 1,300 local residents and 50 local organisations and businesses endorsed a petition opposing Mr Gillick’s proposed change from community to residential use.More signatures are added every day.

Voters speak

In a recent survey of local residents, 72% say that losing the library building will “definitely” or “probably” affect their voting intentions at the next General and Local Elections. 58% of respondents say they are less likely to vote for their current Brent Councillors and 39% for their current Brent MP as a result of how matters have so far been handled regarding the library’s closure. Meanwhile, 97% think the actions of Brent Council have been “against the interests of the local community”. (See the attached Survey Summary.)

An opportunity to put fine words into action

Brent Council says it now regrets giving away the building to All Souls College (which, despite profiteering via Mr Gillick, never paid a penny for it, but merely gifted the land on which the community built its library).

The Council says it now wants to put ‘community engagement’ at the heart of its policies.

The Council can prove this by using current legislation to help the community defend its building from being turned into luxury flats.

The Localism Act 2012

This legislation seeks to help communities protect assets that are important, recognising that the closure or sale of local assets can be a real loss to them. The Kensal Rise Library building was listed in December 2012 as an “Asset of Community Value” under the Act. Brent Council listed the entire building and land (not a section of it, as All Souls College requested).

In December 2012, Councillor Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, said:

The new legislation gives communities the opportunity to come together and seek to protect land and buildings they consider to be of value for future generations. I have said since becoming Leader that it is important that communities have a voice in these issues. In this instance the criteria of the legislation was met so we have listed the Kensal Rise building”.

What you can do

1. Support our oppositionto granting change of use. How?

You, as one of our elected representatives, can ensure that the Council’s designation of the building as an Asset of Community Value is a ‘material consideration’ when planning officers and committee make a decision about Mr Gillick’s proposal.

Department of Communities and Local Government policy statement on Assets of Community Value says, “The fact that the site is listed may affect planning decisions – it is open to the local planning authority to decide that listing as an asset of community value is a material consideration if an application for change of use is submitted, considering all the circumstances of the case.”

 You are empowered to make that decision.

2. Raise this with Planning Officers.
3. Raise this with the Planning Committee.
4. Raise this with Cllr Muhammed Butt.

Once the building is turned into flats, it is lost to the community forever.

Community Consultation?

Brent planning officers instructed developer Andrew Gillick to “undertake detailed local consultation” in their pre-application planning advice (May 17, 2013). Mr Gillick claims he has consulted with the community, but in April the same year he told us he “did not require any input” from us and that we were “free to support [him] in planning”.

Mr Gillick’s plans for the building are not based on community needs, but on the highest financial return from the sale of flats.

Mr Gillick also refused a request by Cllr Roxanne Mashari to have a consultation with the community before submitting his plans to the Council. He further claims to have consulted with local groups in the community. Who are these groups? Of the more than 1,300 local residents and 50 local businesses and organisations who so far have signed and endorsed our petition, none has been approached by the developer.

Heritage Lottery Fund Encourages Community Use of Whole KRL Building

 Did you know? The Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL) have exciting, sustainable plans to retain the whole building for community use. We are ready to buy it. The library will be the key element in a community building offering other services and amenities provided by our community partners. (See attached Business Plan Summary.)

Did you know? FKRL’s plans are endorsed byThe Heritage Lottery Fund. Its London Chair, Wesley Kerr, has urged us to apply for a £250,000 grant when we acquire the building. (Brent is under-represented in Heritage Lottery applications.)

Did you know? Our plans are supported by Locality, the national charity contracted by government to help organisations use the Community Rights: ‘Right to Buy’, ‘Right to Bid’ and ‘Right to Challenge’. It will help us access funds from the Social Investment Business Group and other social investment grants and opportunities – including Community Shares.

Did you know? FKRL’s plans include partnerships with other community organisations, charities and individuals who will share the building and enhance local life. Partners include Into University, which mentors disadvantaged inner city children to achieve academically and Octavia Housing which plans to have outreach services for young people.

Did you know? The space could be used to build arts provision into an area which currently has none. Theatre, film-making, small concerts, art exhibitions, creative writing, comedy are all envisaged by our partnerships (including Brent Artists Register, Willesden Green Library Writers’ Group, Cultured Pearl Theatre Company, De Novo Arts).

Brent Council now has the chance to work with this community and help us defend and protect our community asset.

A building paid for by the community and Andrew Carnegie, not All Souls College.

Once the building goes residential, it is lost to the community forever.

Friends of Kensal Rise Library

 

Click on the following link for the FKRL Business plan summary for a future community KRL building:

BP Summary Aug 8th

Click on the following link for the survey of public attitudes to the closure of Kensal Rise Library:

Public Attitudes To The Closure of Kensal Rise Library 12 August 2013

2 Comments

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2 Responses to Letter to Councillors from the Friends of Kensal Rise Library – your choice Brent – will you support our community?

  1. Peter Grigg

    This Google location map of objections so far shows fairly clearly that LOCALS DON’T WANT THE LIBRARY TO BE FLATS!!! http://t.co/r9P8OwSgGo

  2. robert kraut

    was not aware fight was going on keep up the good fight!

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