Just to be clear and so that you know what is happening with our negotiations with All Souls College.
We wrote a detailed open letter to the Fellows of the College on 2nd November 2012, setting out our concerns about the proposal that was put to us in a meeting on 25th October 2012 (details at Open Letter).
We also previously wrote to Professor Sir John Vickers, the Warden, on 6th June 2012 regarding the charitable status of the College and explaining if they were ‘so minded’ they could ‘gift’ the library to this community, within the principles of Charity Law (details at Charities Letter)
We held a rally in Oxford on Saturday 10th November 2012. We invited the Warden and Bursar to come to speak to us on that occasion. They declined, but we have been invited to a further meeting on 20th November 2012.
We have asked to meet with the College on other occasions and have been referred to Cluttons their property agents.
We have been corresponding with the College since the beginning of the campaign from December 2010. In July 2012, we asked to meet with the College. This led to a meeting in early August, which was the first meeting we had had with the College. Other than the meeting in October 2012 with Mr Thomas Seaman, the Bursar of the College, and Cluttons, the property agents of the College, in response to our proposal, other meetings with the College and its representatives have been at our request.
At the meeting on 25th October 2012 the Bursar told us that our proposal to run the library had been rejected and the College intended to sell the building to a property developer, a Mr Andrew Gillick of Platinum Revolver Ltd, who would be converting the majority of the building into flats, with some provision for library space at a market rent. It was expected that the sale would proceed within four to six weeks. The College was offering to pay and then subsidise the market rent for the library space over some years. They were also offering us a one off donation on completion of the sale to Mr Gillick. This was contrary to what we were told at the meeting in August, when the representatives of the College had assured us that the building would not be turned into flats.
The Bursar said we should meet with the developer to discuss the terms and space offered, which we did on 31st October. It transpired that Mr Gillick planned to turn the whole of the original building into flats. He planned to demolish the children’s library and build a modern building there for library use, which he intended to let at a market rent. After considering the offer we sent a letter to Mr Gillick, care of Cluttons as he would not give us an address for correspondence, saying we could not accept his offer as it stood as the space was too small and the library would not be sustainable on the terms offered. We also said we would be happy to continue to negotiate about terms. We have made this clear to Mr Gillick and the College.
Cricklewood library have also indicated to the College they would not be happy to work with this developer on the terms offered to them.
Full details of the offer and our response are on our website http://www.savekensalriselibrary.org under ‘Open Letter to All Souls’.
The College has never asked to meet with us on any other occasion.
There has been a second offer made to the College by another developer whose offer to us is more generous with regard to space and terms, although it also involves flats. We don’t know yet the outcome of this proposal to the College.
We will meet with the College on 20th November and hope that there will be a constructive discussion about the future of the library.
We have submitted a nomination to Brent Council asking them to list the library building under the Localism Act. If the building is listed, this will give us a Community Right to Bid, which is an offer from the community to buy the building from All Souls, and would prevent a sale of the building to anyone else for six months. The council will make a decision about whether or not to accept our nomination.
Obviously, there are differences of opinion about whether or not the College has the right to expect to make money out of our library.
Any decision about the future of the library will be taken after we have an offer in writing from All Souls to present to you, and will be made with the consent of the community at a public meeting.
You will decide.
We are trying to get the best offer we can on behalf of this community. If you have any questions about any of our negotiations please email me.