Easter Update – FKRL Supports the new planning application 14/0846

Save Kensal Rise Library – the campaign continues!

Last year, FKRL opposed the developer’s planning application. We thought the library space was unworkable: it was less than that offered now – and half was going to be in a  basement with no natural light. We did not think that was acceptable.

This year, FKRL has agreed to support the new community (D1) space within the new planning application. We believe it is our best chance of keeping a library for our community.
Why has FKRL agreed?
As a result of FKRL’s campaigning, the contract between All Souls and the developer obliges the developer to reserve 1500 square feet for library and community use. Now, after further campaigning, the developer has been persuaded to set aside more and better community space in exchange for our agreement.
Any campaign involves difficult decisions at key moments. FKRL’s Trustees agonised about the implications of signing such an agreement. None of us got into this battle originally because we wanted to see flats in the building.
But we now have an improved offer of a viable library and community space – roughly two thirds of the ground floor – rent free in perpetuity and refurbished. Only the ground floor was accessible to the public in the former library building.
Walking away from the offer in the hope that we might eventually manage to acquire the whole building (from an owner who does not want to sell, and at a cost of millions of pounds we don’t have ) would be irresponsible. We would run the risk of no space at all.
Like any property deal, there is no guarantee until contracts are exchanged. What we have achieved is an agreement that we are the preferred tenants, nominated by All Souls, as per their contract with the developer. Trust is required from all three parties at this stage. We look forward to signing a tenancy agreement once planning permission is granted.
After nearly four years of campaigning, we at last have a chance of something, rather than a chance of nothing
We are looking forward to the day when we can put all our energies into creating a great, free  library and community space for all the residents of Kensal Green and Kensal Rise.
What You Can Do
For the best chance of retaining a library for the community, FKRL are supporting the application in the following way:
Support planning application 14/0846
I give my support re Planning Application 14/0846:
1. For D1 community library and space
2. For FKRL to be tenants of the space
Name……………………..
………………………………
Address……………………
……………………………….
If you agree, please join us by writing the same, then sign and send to Brent Planning  before April 28th 2014.
To send – go online to Brent Planning
 and using the link against this planning application record “Comment on this planning application” or send your comments by email torobin.sedgwick@brent.gov.uk or by post to:
Robin Sedgwick
Planning Application 14/0846
Planning Department
Brent Civic Centre
Engineer’s Way
Wembley HA9 0FJ
Thank you for your continuing support for the campaign to Save Kensal Rise Library.
Margaret Bailey
Chair FKRL
and on behalf of all Trustees.

 

Why FKRL Decided To Accept Kensal Rise Library Re-Development Offer
 
Many of you know that the FKRL Trustees recently decided to support the community (D1) aspect of the library building’s re-development. We signed an agreement in good faith with All Souls College and the developer to this effect, trusting this would strengthen our position as future operators of the library and community space.

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March Update: Planning application submitted for Kensal Rise Library building

Hi Everyone,

The developer, Andrew Gillick, has submitted his planning application for the Kensal Rise Library building (see below at end).

 

The Trustees of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL) have been trying to negotiate with the developer and the College since November. We were offered three quarters of the ground floor.

 

The Trustees agreed, in principle, to accept the space offered – subject to a written agreement between all parties (All Souls College, the developer and the FKRL) guaranteeing that FKRL would be the lessee of the space in return for its support for change of use of the building.

 

The College agreed to be a signatory to such an agreement. However, so far, Mr Gillick has not been willing to sign.

 

The amount of space is not of FKRL’s choosing. However, the FKRL’s Trustees agreed to accept it rather than jeopardise the chance of no space at all for a library and community area – sadly, a real, potential outcome.

 

The Trustees accept that it will be a challenge to run a sustainable library in the space offered, which is much smaller than other community libraries (eg Little Chalfont, Belsize, New Cross etc). They also know that the amount of space offered falls far short of retaining the entire building for community use, as per its official listing as an ‘Asset of Community Value’.

 

We are due to meet the developer’s planning consultant tomorrow evening, Wednesday 12th March. It will be made clear there whether or not the developer wishes the FKRL’s support  and is prepared to give us the assurance we need about our tenancy.

 

Without this assurance, FKRL will have no choice but to oppose the developer’s planning application, and will campaign against the suitability of Mr Gillick and his plans for this community asset.

 

We will also rely on Planning Officers and Committee to decide whether the offer to the community is sufficient mitigation for the loss of community space, notwithstanding the reluctant decision of FKRL’s Trustees to accept – or risk losing any space at all.

The Officers and Committee are not bound by our decision, and will decide on planning issues and the material consideration that the whole building has been designated an Asset of Community Value.

 

There will remain the problem of choice of tenants for the community space, although we have the College’s assurance that FKRL are still its preferred tenant. However, whether this will carry any weight with the developer, as senior landlord, remains to be seen.

Everyone will be free to respond to Mr Gillick’s planning application.

We hope that you will all take time to consider the above – and FKRL’s predicament, and make your comments regarding the application accordingly.

 

Regards,

 

Margaret Bailey

Information for Planning Application 14/0846

Application Type: Full Planning Permission
Location: KENSAL RISE BRANCH LIBRARY, Bathurst Gardens, London, NW10 5JA
Proposal: Conversion of the existing vacant building to provide 5 residential units (2 x studios, 1 x 1 bed duplex flat and 2 x 2 bed duplex flats) on part ground and upper floors and 186m2 community space (Use Class D1) on the ground floor. Single storey ground floor extension to west elevation, provision of roof extension and communal residential roof terrace, and creation of basement for bin/cycle store. Provision of new entrance door on Bathurst Gardens serving D1 space, with associated cycle parking and landscaping to Bathurst Gardens and College Road. Erection of temporary site hoarding to protect site from vandalism and tresappsing while vacant.
Comments: Comments and objections cannot currently be submitted for this case as it has not been fully validated.
Received Date: 07/ 03/ 2014
Status: Received – not yet validated
Decision: This case has not yet been decided.
Key dates: Monitor your application
Agent: Mr Sahota, Nicholas Taylor & Associates , 128 Southwark Street London SE1 0SW
Applicant: Kensal Properties Limited, c/o agent
Case Officer: Technical Support Team
020 8937 5210
Certificate: Type A

Documents

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Update – 11 Feb 2014

Hi Everyone,

Fraudulent Email Enquiry Update

We have received the following information regarding the fraudulent email investigation from Cllr Mashari who has been updated by Brent Council’s Director of Legal and Procurement.

On Friday the police requested additional evidence and information in respect of the fraudulent email case, and this has been provided to them by the Council’s audit and investigation team.
Updates will follow.

Pop Up

Lovely notice made by a resident for Saturday’s celebration of National Libraries Day with regard to the pop up.

“Out of sight
But not out of mind….”

Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate and pack the books. They were taken for storage by the council today.
Let us hope that it won’t be too long before they’re back home.
We are working on it.

Regards,

Margaret

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February Update

Hi Everyone,

1. Thank you
Thank you to everyone who came to demonstrate against the destruction of the Pop Up Library.
To our local councillors, and Cllr Roxanne Mashari the Lead Member for the Environment (which includes libraries), to our friends that tweeted support like Maggie Gee and Philip Pullman. To the volunteers from the community, special mention Josephine, who have maintained the Pop Up for three years, and most of all to the children and residents of Kensal Rise and Kensal Green, including Miss Cecilia on her first protest – 4 weeks old!
Thank you also for all the messages of support we have had from all over the country.
We are shocked and dismayed that this destruction could happen when we are supposed to be negotiating about the library space.
2. National Libraries Day Saturday 8th February, 11am at Kensal Rise Pop Up Library
The community will be out in force to repair and get re-established, the Kensal Rise Pop Up library and to help celebrate
National Libraries Day.
An opportunity to show that you love libraries including the Pop Up.
Bring balloons, ribbons, cakes, drinks, and energy.
A great chance for the community to come together and show  we will not let the pop up spirit be destroyed.
3. Fraudulent emails
Great news that the Leader of Brent Council Cllr Muhammed Butt is demanding that the police reconsider their decision not to proceed with their investigation into the fraudulent use of emails to support the planning application of the developer.
We can expect a decision from the police by tomorrow morning (Wednesday). And IT experts have offered help too.
See as many of you as possible on Saturday,
Regards,

Margaret Bailey

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January 2014 Update

Hi Everyone,

1. Negotiations about the library space
Following refusal of planning permission last September, the developer and his architect are submitting fresh proposals for the library building to the planning committee of the council. Negotiations with regard to the space reserved for the community have been on going since before Christmas in so far as we have been shown and have commented on preliminary drawings. According to the architect these were a ‘work in progress’.
The Trustees of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library voted to agree, in principle, to accept the offer of two thirds of the ground floor, contingent on seeing the final drawings and the developer’s planning application and also subject to an agreement being drawn up that would give an assurance that the Friends would be the tenants of the space in which to run a community library. We have also had the support of the Brent Council Lead Member for Libraries, Cllr Mashari, for this.
Both the College and the Friends contributed to an agreement document that was to accompany the planning application. However, this was not agreed by the developer.

The Friends do not regard it as appropriate to approve a planning application on behalf of the community without first seeing that planning application. Furthermore, they have so far not had an assurance from the developer that in return for their support their tenancy of the library space would be assured.

 

We have informed both the College and the developer that we have been unable to support a planning application in this way.

 

2. National Libraries Day Saturday 8 February 2014

National Libraries Day will round off a week’s worth of celebrations in public, school, college, university, and workplace libraries on Saturday 8 February 2014.

Here in Kensal Rise the community will be celebrating by coming to the pop up library and giving it a bit of care and attention. Sorting the books and getting the space ready for spring. Come and join in this community event from 11am.

More details about events for National Libraries Day can be found on the website www.nationallibrariesday.org.uk

 

Regards,

 

Margaret Bailey

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Christmas carols at the pop-up!

Christmas Carols at the pop-up, Wed 18 Dec., 6pm start. Bring candles in jamjars!

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UPDATE!

Hi Everyone,

We have received a communication from Mr Wolf Erdmann, architect for Mr Andrew Gillick, regarding the new proposals for the Kensal Rise Library building.

At the Trustees’ meeting of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library last night,  it was agreed that we have the basis for a constructive discussion. There’s still a way to go but it is a move in the right direction.

We will keep you updated with details and what we hope will be fruitful negotiations.

Maybe, hope, for Christmas?

Regards,

Margaret Bailey

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NOVEMBER UPDATE

Hi Everyone,

1. Fraudulent Support for Planning Application.
Good to know that the council have referred the matter of fraudulent support for the planning application to turn the Kensal Rise library into flats with a small space for the community over to the Metropolitan Police.
The campaign highlighted this matter to the council, and submitted two letters with details of  its investigation.
The council assured us that they would take the matter seriously and launch their own investigation.
Council officers have done so and have told us they found evidence serious enough to warrant a referral to the police.
Cllr Roxanne Mashari  member of Brent’s Executive and Lead Member for Libraries will keep us updated.
There is disquiet in the community that another planning application for the library is being considered while the police investigation is ongoing and we are looking into the legal aspects of this.
 
2. Public Consultation by Agents for Developer Andrew Gillick for Kensal Rise Library.
 
Nicholas Taylor and Associates, the agents acting for the developer Andrew Gillick, will be holding a public consultation in The Island pub in College Rd on Monday 18th November at 7.30pm.
They have sent out invitations to some Kensal Rise residents and also to the Friends of Kensal Rise Library – although anyone else from the community can and should attend. Brent councillors have also been invited.
They say:
As you will be aware, we submitted a planning application earlier in the year which sought the conversion and extension of the building to provide 7 flats and a community centre. That application was refused by Brent Council for several reasons.
The applicants have since instructed a new firm of architects who have taken a fresh look at the proposals with a view to addressing all previous concerns raised by both neighbouring residents, and the local planning authority.
Before submitting a new application to the Council, we want to present and discuss the new scheme with the local community. Accordingly, we invite you to meet with us at 7.30pm on Monday 18th November at, The Island, 123 College Road, NW10 5HA. The project architects will be presenting their latest proposals for the building and will be on hand to answer any questions/concerns that you may have.

The architect has told us that the drawings are still at the design stage. FKRL believe that the proposals as currently presented don’t yet meet the need for a sustainable community library and space and require further adjustment.

This event will be an opportunity to provide feedback to the architect about what you, the community, needs, so please make an effort to attend and make your views known.

3. For your information: usable floor space

1. Original Ground Floor space

 281.26 m2

Storage upstairs: Office 25 m2,Store: 13 m2, Staff area/Kitchen: 15 m2,  WC’s: 15 m2

Total usable space: 349.26 m2

 

2. Previous offer by developer rejected by planning committee September 2013

Floor space 176 sq m

Ground floor 107 sq m

Basement 69 sq m

Floor areas after deduction of area required for vertical circulation:

Ground floor 90 m2 + Basement 57 m2

Total usable floor space 147 m2 

 

3. New proposal November 2013 (based on developer’s architect’s figures)

Total 212.4 m2 

Ground floor 98.2 m2 

Basement 114.2 m2

GF: 70m2 Multi functional space (net)

25m2 Circulation, Entrance

LG: 70 m2 Multi functional space (net)

25 m2 Circulation, Entrance

22 m2 Circulation, Services (bathrooms…)

Total usable floor space 140 m2

(All Souls in November 2012 wrote to us to say that the floor space would be mainly at ground floor level, the latest proposal has more usable space in the basement)

So there will be plenty to discuss.

Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible.

Regards,

Margaret Bailey

 

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An All-Soulless story for North London library

The Oxford Student

 

 

Codrington library pictureCampaigners have responded with frustration to comments made by All Souls’ College representatives about the future of the Kensal Rise Library Building.

Margaret Bailey, a member of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL) commented this week on behalf of the group that they were “bemused” by the “contradictory” attitude taken by All Souls, who control the building, and developer Andrew Gillick towards how the building would be redeveloped.

The north-west London library closed in spring 2012, causing ownership to revert to All Souls by law. The college exchanged contracts for sale of the building with Mr Gillick, head of development company Platinum Revolver, on the condition that at least 1500 square feet of the building continue to function as a library.

The development plans have been the subject of serious debate at community level. Mr Gillick was beset by allegations that letters to the council in support of his planning application, made in September, were fraudulent. Mr Gillick denied knowledge of such letters at the time, but the council nevertheless refused planning permission for Mr Gillick’s first development proposal.

All Souls has also come in from criticism in recent days. When a Private Eye article alleged that the college had “reneged on its covenant” with Brent Council, the college issued a statement saying it “regretted” the closure of the library, and that it “[did not renege] on any covenant”. All Souls claimed that it was “under no obligation” to ensure that a library continued to occupy part of the building, “but it has in fact done so”.

In a letter earlier this month, however, All Souls say that Mr Gillick will, as “Senior Land lord…have final say in the matter” of how the building is used. This is in contrast to an assurance earlier in the letter that the college agreed with Mr Gillick that “a minimum of 1500 square feet” will be put to use as a library for the community.

It is this contrast, labelled “contradictory” by FKRL, that has reignited the ongoing struggle for control of the building. Ms Bailey’s statement takes issue with the ambiguity of All Souls’ approach. In the statement she voices concern that the agreement between the college and Mr Gillick could be “unenforceable”, resulting in a building “with no effect or benefit for the community”.

The FKRL group has fought a long battle to retain use of the library, having staged a protest outside the college in Michaelmas last year. The campaign has received significant media attention, and won the support of such names as Alan Bennett, Zadie Smith, Philip Pullman and Michael Frayn.

The library itself has a distinguished history, having been opened by Mark Twain in 1900, and funded in part by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

All Souls is the third-wealthiest college in Oxford, with its financial endowment amounting to £245 million as of July 2012.

This article was taken from:

http://oxfordstudent.com/2013/10/31/an-all-soulless-story-for-north-london-library/

 

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Brent Council call in police over KRL fraud claims

bktimes

 

 

Lorraine King, News editor Tuesday, November 5, 2013
12:18 PM

Council chiefs have called in the police over claims that emails supporting plans to develop an axed library branch were faked.

The action has been taken after an investigation by Brent Council into the allegations surrounding Kensal Rise Library concluded the case should be referred to detectives.

The council’s IT officers scrutinised the emails including IP addresses which are exclusive to each computer.

Cllr Roxanne Mashari, Brent Council’s lead member for environment and neighbourhoods, is responsible for libraries.

She said: “The council compiled a report after their own investigation and we have handed this over to police.

“Abuse of Brent’s planning system will not be tolerated.

“This has now escalated into a police matter and we await the outcome of the police investigation.”

In September, a council report added strength to claims by campaigners Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL) that false statements were made against its fight to retain the Bathurst Road building for community use.

The report stated that when email notifications were sent to everyone who made a statement about the plans on the council’s website 78 were returned as being undelivered with 70 of those belonged to ‘supporters’.

Andrew Gillick, the director of Platinum Revolver Limited which took over the building from owners All Soul’s College in Oxford, hit back with claims that false objections against the application had also been posted on the council’s website.

He had applied for permission to convert the site into six flats, a cottage and a community hub but it was rejected by the council.

Margaret Bailey, chair of FKRL, said: “We applaud the action of our council and it’s willingness to take seriously this attempt to subvert local democracy and mislead the public.

“Our community is strongly against this development for the library building and these fraudulent emails of support for the development were an attempt to divide and denigrate this community.

“Fraud is illegal and we support a thorough investigation by the police.”

Cllr Mashari added: “We must keep our eyes on the end result of securing a community library at Kensal Rise.

“I am ready to work with the community and any stakeholder to ensure that this happens and that it is viable and sustainable.”

Kensal Rise Library was closed alongside Neasden, Tokyngton, Cricklewood, Preston and Barham branches by Brent Council in October 2011 to save £1million.

This article was taken from the Brent and Kilburn Times:

http://www.kilburntimes.co.uk/news/brent_council_call_in_police_over_kensal_rise_library_fraud_claims_1_2966685

 

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