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March 2016 Update

 As spring arrives, these are interesting and busy times for the campaign.

The objective of re-opening our library is now in sight, but, and it’s a big but, there’s a financial hill to climb.

We will be able to take possession of our space in the building in the next month or two.

We will then have a rent-free space covering two-thirds of the ground floor – most of the area the old library had. But we will need to fit it out and furnish it to turn it into a working library and a public space.

Our priority is to raise the money to do that. We’re applying to trusts and foundations for funding, and we will continue to hold fundraising events. We are also hoping to launch a fundraising drive – calling in the pledges that were made when we first appealed for funds to run the library and also appealing for help from our supporters everywhere.

 In the meantime we have had, and, will have, some great fundraising events.

 The Actors’ Evening at the Paradise in Febrary was a wonderful night of poetry, literature and laughs which raised over £2000. Actors such as Tamsin Greig, Patterson Joseph, Haydyn Gwynne and others performed and we truly appreciate their support.

On 12th  March the Brent Symphony Orchestra gave a concert  in aid of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library. It was a wonderful evening with a terrific programme and we are so lucky that the orchestra has made its home in Kensal Rise at St Martin’s Church. We hope to have many more events to share at St Martin’s and inside the library when it opens.

The Actor’s Evening at QPCS. 24th April 2016. Once again the actors who performed at the Actor’s Evening at the Paradise will be returning and giving of their time and talent – this time an evening of Shakespeare.

Art Exhibition and Auction: date to be confirmed, as we may be holding this event in the library. We have had a Peter Blake print donated and we will have the support of local Brent artists.

In November our third Annual Mark Twain Lecture will be given by author Ali Smith, author of, amongst other books, Public Libraries and Other Stories and winner of both the Bailey’s Prize (2015) and the Goldsmith Prize (2014). Ali Smith is a great defender of libraries and her talk promises to be very interesting.

Our library should be a force for good……

 Yes, a shared public space with books, free WiFi and computers, classes, events  etc is a beautiful thing but we also want the amazing asset we have there to be a broader force for good in Kensal Rise.

That means using it to help those in our area who have the most acute needs – whether teens, single parents, migrants, refugees, people with disabilities or the elderly. We already have partnerships in place with several local groups who tackle those needs but we would love to hear from more, so if you think the library space may be a good resource for work that you do – please get in touch.


Margaret Bailey

David Butcher

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New Year Update 2016


At a meeting of the Trustees of the Friends of Kensal Rise library in December a representative from Uplift Properties – the company that is developing the library building – reported that the development is on track and the scaffolding may be ready to come down in February and the Friends may be able to have access to the building from the end of March. Very exciting!

We have a lot to do, not only with organising how the library is to be run but also with the fitting out of the library space. The space that we will have will be left in a ‘shell and core’ condition when the building works are complete. This means we will be responsible for getting the building from this basic condition to one which is ready for use as a library and public space. We will be asking our supporters for help with this as well as applying to trusts and charities for funds to make the work achievable.

Working together we can achieve this.

The next meeting of the Volunteer Committees is on Thursday 7 January in the Long Room, St Martin’s Church, Mortimer Rd, Kensal Green. 7.30pm – 8.45pm. Please come along and help create a great library, run for the community by the community.

 We need as many local people as possible to help secure funds for the library and get it ready to re-open in 2016.

 YOU have skills we need. We have fought long and hard to save our library and as a result we have a great space on the ground floor of the building, rent-free.

 When it re-opens, the service will be run by volunteers as a lending library with free internet access.

But it will be more than a space with books and computers ……

 We plan to run classes and workshops and activities and projects that meet the needs and interests of all in the community. 

 We want to make the library a force for good. Our campaign has shown what we believe to be important and what we have spent five years fighting for – a library and public space at the heart of our community

 To do that we need people who can lend a hand with fundraising, communications, and the practicalities of how the library will operate. No experience necessary: enthusiasm and a small amount of time are all we need…

We look forward to working together and thank you for your continued support.


Margaret Bailey

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Message of Support from Melvyn Bragg

Message of support from Melvyn Bragg to Friends of Kensal Rise Library

“Libraries are the essential oxygen of the mind”.

Mark Twain 2nd Annual Lecture 8th November 2015

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July 2015 Update

July 2015 Update

1. New Hoarding at the library

You may have noticed the new hoarding that is going up around the library building.

This will replace the black hoarding that has been there for a while and will remain while the refurbishment of the building takes place. Hopefully only until next Spring/Summer when we hope the work will be complete and our library will be open!

The new owners, Uplift Property, plan to cover the new hoarding with contributions from within the community and which celebrate the campaign to save the library and the future library which will be run by the community.

Alex Green is the artist who will do the work which will include contributions of poetry from Year 7’s at Queens Park Community School. You can see some of his work here:

 The new plywood hoarding will be fixed (inside of the wall – so the wall can now be sat on again) in the next week or so and then Alex will take two weeks to paint the hoarding using stencils and freehand to present the text in a range of different ways.

Hopefully you will get to see and enjoy the work in progress. It also will give people a chance to get involved in painting a section of the hoarding themselves if they would like – nothing too difficult. Alex is hoping the community will come to the library on the weekend of 1st August between 2-4pm to help finish off the work.

Thank you to Mike Hulme, Head Teacher of QPCS, for organising the contribution of the students.

Volunteers for the Library

At the Open Day in June and at QPCS Summer Fair in July we managed to collect the names of over 120 people who wanted to volunteer their time when the library opens. This is a tremendous response and we thank all of you.

We will be contacting you all in September when we hope to begin a series of meetings to discuss in more detail the contributions you wish to make.

As we make the transiton from campaigning to save the library to learning to run the library we need a whole new range of skills and we believe that those skills are right here in this community.

We are particularly interested at the moment in working with people who have fundraising skills – if this is you and you think you can help please do get in touch.

The cost of fitting out a new library may reach £200,000 – or more, so we have some serious work to do if we are to give the community the library and public space it deserves.

We have proved we have staying power so I am in no doubt that we will achieve this aim – and the more of us that are working towards this aim the easier it will be to achieve.

Hoping to see some of you at the transformation of the hoarding in the next couple of weeks.


Margaret Bailey

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April 2015 Update

April 2015 Update


New Owners and a New Beginning – at last – after nearly five years!Over the past few weeks The Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL) has had a number of meetings with the prospective owners of the library building.

Knight Frank the agents for the sale of the property have ensured that we have had contact with all interested buyers.

Our meetings with the preferred bidders have been very productive and we are extremely pleased that there will be no reduction of the space allocated to the community by planning last year (there was a real chance that this could happen and we really appreciate the fact that the prospective owners have recognised not only the efforts of our long campaign to maintain the library space but also the importance of having  a space that is sustainable).

We also think that the restoration and refurbishment of the library building will be sensitive and thorough as we have seen examples of previous developments.

Final completion of the sale of the building will take place around the 14th May and we hope to be the co-hosts, along with the new owners, of an open day ‘meet and greet’ event inside the library – yes indeed, inside the library, towards the end of May.

This will be an opportunity for the community to meet with the new owners, who have said they are keen  to work cooperatively with local residents, to  find out what they plan to do with the building.

FKRL will also have their plans for the community space on display and also the findings of the public consultation.

We are hopeful that the works on the library will commence around mid June and will take 6-9 months to complete.

We are very excited by this development because it looks as if our community is finally going to get the library and public space is deserves and has fought for for so long.

March Public Consultation 

Many thanks to those of you that made the day a success with your suggestions for the library space and also ideas for what you would like to see happen in the library.

Top of the list was free wi fi and computer access followed by classes and talks and spaces for study and reading.

We are conducting a library survey and there is still time to contribute – we want you to share your views about the future use of the space – so please fill in the survey – it only takes  a few minutes.

Shortened link:

Full link:

Thank you to Graham for the use of St Martin’s Long Room – it was a great venue.

Looking forward to seeing you all at the ‘Meet & Greet’ – date and time to be announced soon.

Margaret Bailey

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Public Consultation

 The Friends of Kensal Rise Library invite you to the




Saturday 14th March 2015

1pm to 4pm (drop in)

 The Long Room, St Martin’s Church,

Mortimer Road, NW10

(2 mins from Kensal Green Tube Station)

 The Friends of Kensal Rise Library will have a rent free space for a community library on the ground floor of the library building. We want to hear your views on how it should be designed and used.

 Our award winning architects, Shepheard Epstein Hunter, have experience in public library design and community consultation, with projects including Enfield Town Library, Fore Street Library in Edmonton and Clapton Library in Hackney. Steven Pidwell, Director and Chairman of the practice, has particular experience in library design and will be available at the public consultation to discuss the proposals.


Refreshments                              Activities for children

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  1. 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.


  2. 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.


  3. 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.



    Margaret Bailey







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December 2014 Update

December Update 2014

Letter from All Souls College to the Friends of Kensal Rise Library
Hi Everyone,
We understand that you may be confused and concerned by the latest turn of events – the auction of the library.
The library building may or may not have a new owner.
The focus of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library has always been, and will continue to be, to work for the establishment of a library in the Kensal Rise Library building. We remain focused on this intention and our resolve is strengthened by the on-going support of the Kensal Rise/Kensal Green community – we are gratified by the trust the community places in us and are heartened by the many messages of support we continue to receive.
We received a letter on the 16th December from All Souls College, who, by the terms of their sale to Andrew Gillick, retain control of the D1 community space, whoever is the owner of the building.
Any subsequent owner of the freehold of the library inherits this obligation regarding the D1 space. Below is the letter we have received from All Souls College.
Margaret Bailey

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November 2014 Update

November Update

Disposal of the Kensal Rise Library Building

The Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL) has been notified by the Council of the owner’s intention to dispose of the Kensal Rise Library building. As the building is an Asset of Community Value the owner is obliged to inform the Council of any intention to dispose of the building. This can be a ‘disposal’ (sale) of any part of the building (including a lease of more than 25 years).

The Council is obliged by the Localism Act (2011) to notify the community of this intention to dispose. The D1 space is guaranteed by the planning permission granted in July of this year and by the S106 agreement recently signed by the council and the owner.
All Souls College has retained control of the D1 space and any ‘disposal’ by the owner has with it the ‘encumbrance’ of the decision of planning, including the D1 space.

As the College still states on its website,

 The College has sold both buildings (Kensal Rise Library and Cricklewood Library) to a commercial developer on condition that a certain amount of space in each building is leased on a rent-free basis for 999 years to enable continued provision of library services to the residents of both Cricklewood and Kensal Rise once the development has been completed.
The College hopes that the Friends (of Cricklewood) and Kensal Rise Libraries will become the operators of these new library facilities and plans to offer both groups leases which will also be rent-free. The College has retained long-term control over the space allocated to it in each building so that it cannot be changed from the provision of library services without its permission.

Any new owner who wanted to change the decision of the Planning Committee would need to submit a new planning application.

Any Community Interest Group can potentially submit a bid – as FKRL has for the D1 space.

FKRL remain committed to establishing a library and community space in the building and is prepared to work with whoever is the owner of the building.

Nearly in our fifth year of campaigning – we don’t give up.
C&D Food and Wines College Road.

The planning application for the corner shop will be considered at the Planning Committee at 7.00pm on 10 December, 2014 at Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley.

On 6 December, 2014 at approximately 11:35 a.m. members of the Committee will visit the site and of course everyone is welcome to attend.

The early advice from planning officers is to grant consent but as enough objections were raised the decision will go to the full Planning Committee on 10th December.

Cllr Mat Kelcher for Kensal Green Ward will be speaking against the plans and hopes that as many local people as possible will show support by attending the planning meeting.

The link to the planning application is:


Save Kensal Rise Library Christmas Cards

Our annual campaign Christmas cards will go on sale tomorrow at C&D Food and Wines College Road.

£5 for a pack of ten –  beautifully designed by Allen and Laura.

Support the campaign and spread a little seasonal joy.



Margaret Bailey

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Hi Everyone,

  1. Planning Permission Progress

    Although planning consent was given at the July planning meeting to develop the library, the Section10 6 agreement between the developer and the council has yet to be finalised.  The Section 106 is an agreement where a developer has to provide contributions to offset negative impacts caused by construction and development (affordable homes with a large development, new open space, funding extra schools places, etc). The developer implements these or makes payment to the council for them to be carried out. We have heard from Brent’s planning legal officer that the agreement may be sorted and signed in the next week. We may then know when work will begin on the library building.

  2. FKRL has three new Trustees: Mike Hulme,  Headteacher at Queens Park Community School; Karl Hemsley (former Librarian at Kensal Rise and Kilburn Libraries) and Anthony Bennett , local resident, who joins our Finance Sub-Group. These are great additions to our team and we welcome them and their expertise.
  3. FKRL and QPCS Partnership: we will be formally launching the partnership in February next year with a celebratory musical evening and photographic display at Queens Park Community School (that would be a dancing musical evening with contributions from within and without the school). We are looking forward to working with Mike Hulme and the school community, not just for their support but for sharing their expertise and having the involvement of their young people. We will be having one of the students as a Trustee also and hope this promotes the involvement of students from the school not just in using the library and community space but taking ownership and having a say in how it is run.
  4. Library Users Forum – Brent Civic Centre 9th October;

    This forum for users of libraries in Brent aims to encourage residents to have a say in the library service. It has also become a forum where the prospective community libraries in Brent get to discuss the possibility of sharing resources and expertise with the local authority.

    Apart from members of the other library campaigns in Brent (Barham, Preston Rd and Cricklewood), James Denselow (Brent Cabinet Lead Member for Stronger Communities which includes Libraries) and Sue McKenzie (Head of Brent Library Service) were present and the Lead Officer for Libraries in Buckinghamshire, David Jones (who used to work in Brent libraries and Kensal Rise Library.
    One of the important subjects discussed was the exploration of what could be shared by the Brent Library Service and Community Libraries. This is very important for us because part of our future success, I believe, will be the extent to which we are able to develop a good working relationship with the Brent library service – maybe not financial (as such), but, sharing services, contracts for outreach services, volunteers, training and being part of their lending and IT services could save us a lot of headaches (and finance) and be very significant for our operation of a community library.
    There was a very good discussion about community libraries and the lead officer from the Buckinghamshire Library Service spoke about the relationship between community libraries and the statutory service in Bucks and presented a model that Brent could become interested in.
    It was an extremely positive meeting and we are due to meet with Sue McKenzie to explore ways in which the Brent Library Service could offer us assistance and the potential for mutually beneficial exchanges.
    This is indeed progress from the day when she stripped our library of its books etc and could mean a great deal to the future of Community Libraries in Brent.

  5. C&D Food and Wine and more flats for the neighbourhood?

    A planning application has been submitted to the council to turn our corner shop on the corner of College Rd and Clifford Gardens into a flat.

    This is causing a lot of anger in the neighbourhood and rightly so. We do not need more flats in an already densely overcrowded neighbourhood but we do need services and facilities for the community.

    Both the Patels, Jaymini and Pritesh, who have been part of our community and provided a great service for over 15 years are also strong supporters of the library campaign.

    If you want to object please contact Brent Planning.

    Comments close on 29th October!!!!!

    Planning Application: 14/3550

    This is the link that will take you straight to the planning application on Brent’s website where you can lodge your comments: (please let me know if this link does not work)


    Matthew Harvey

    Or write:

    Matthew Harvey

    Brent Planning

    Brent Civic Centre

    Engineers Way

    HA9 0FJ

    Some objections could be:

  • The shop is a going concern
  • The area is densely populated and needs services and facilities
  • Increase in parking
  • The shop provides a service to the community
  • The opening hours of the shop contribute to the safety of the area as it encourages people to use the streets
  • The shop contributes to the mixed nature of the community, thus increasing its sustainability
  • The area has already lost facilities – most of our library, the newsagents, Mr Henry’s grocer shop.



    Margaret Bailey

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