- Sale of the Kensal Rise Library Building:
Knight Frank, a London estate agent and global property consultancy, was at the end of last month marketing the Kensal Rise Library building, but has now withdrawn the offer of sale from its website. Unconditional offers had been invited in excess of £1.25 million with bids closing on 26th February. No sale can be completed until after May 2015 when the Asset of Community Value moratorium period on the sale of the building ends.
As an inducement to buyers it stated in the Knight Frank marketing information:
Subject to obtaining the necessary permission, there is an
opportunity to reduce the size of the D1 space, to secure
planning for an additional residential apartment.
This would mean that whoever buys the building, and decides to reduce the D1 community space, would need to appeal last year’s decision of Brent planning officers and committee to grant 186m2 for the use of the community.
The previous planning application of the developer was rejected for many reasons but the space offered then (in the region of 139.35 m2) was rejected on the grounds that it was inadequate to compensate the community for the loss of the entire building.
Not only will the building be sold with the current planning decision but also the lease arrangement with All Souls College for the D1 space (999 years).
We would hope that any new owner would wish to work with residents and not reduce the space reserved for community use.
FKRL wrote to Knight Frank this week to inform them that it would oppose any reduction in the community space.
We have spoken to some of the developers who have expressed an interest in the building. As the intended tenants of the D1 space, as per our agreement with All Souls College, we recognise the necessity of a good relationship with whoever owns the building and we have been pleased that a number of the developers have indicated their willingness to work with us and the community.
We have also been exploring other options around buying the building, a move we cannot go into lightly – not only are there the costs of buying the building but also the refurbishment costs need to be added, and in addition the fitting out of the library and community space.
We would dearly love the entire building to belong to the community but we must be realistic about what that entails – we will keep you updated on our progress regarding this option. Thank you for sending us your ideas about the building, all of which we will explore. We will not be rejecting any offers from benefactors!
FKRL remain focused on achieving our aim, that of getting a library in the building for our community and we thank the community for the continuing support over this very long campaign.
- Social Investment Bank Grant – Public consultation about the community space:
While we wait for ownership to be sorted (the campaign is in its fifth year – we have learnt patience) we have applied for and been awarded a small grant by the Social Investment Bank. We will use this grant to analyse the sustainability of the space offered for a library and community space and also to visit other Community Libraries to research good practice. We are planning a public consultation where we will report back to the community. Residents will be able to view plans and make their own suggestions. This public consultation will be informed by the input of a firm of architects who not only have previous library experience but have also supported the campaign: they contributed to our 70- page objection document against the developer’s first planning application..
We hope our architects will inspire, reflect and incorporate residents’ ideas and most importantly help us ascertain the sustainability of the space.
This consultation is planned for Saturday March 14th 1-4pm in the Long Room behind St Martin’s Church in Mortimer Rd, NW10.
Thank you to the Rev Graham Noyce for continuing to be supportive of FKRL and the campaign.
- Launch of the FKRL Partnership with Queens Park Community School
This will be held on Friday 17th April at the school. This will not only be part of our consultation with residents but marks publicly the really significant partnership we have made with the school. We were very pleased last year when the Head, Mr Mike Hulme became a Trustee of FKRL.
The school has been very supportive of the campaign and very generous with its resources and we plan to work closely with staff and students there to ensure that the library and its future are secure.
We will be having music and refreshments and also presenting an exhibition based on our 14th March public consultation and a photographic exhibition of the campaign.
We hope as many of you as possible will support these events. FKRL has managed to stay focused on its aims and this has been due to the support the campaign has had and continues to have.
A celebration of hope is a worthy one.