Planning Committee says no!

Hi Everyone,

Planning Committee Rejects Developer’s Proposal 
The Friends of Kensal Rise Library are very pleased that the planning committee have voted to reject the proposals of the developer.
A pic of a very happy group of library campaigners after the planning committee verdict
We are also heartened, as many communities in England will be, that the Asset of Community Value designation helped to protect the building for community use. 
We now intend to work with the council to assist in whatever way we can to uncover the source of the fraudulent support for the developer.
We are very pleased that the council is taking these instances of fraud seriously and will pursue, with the help of the police, their origin.
There are serious implications for local democracy if processes can be abused in this way, and serious consequences for the perpetrator as Fraud by misrepresentation is illegal.
Thank you to to those of you who came to the planning meeting last night and those of you who have worked so hard to make sure the proposal of the developer was rejected.
Margaret Bailey
A pic of a confident group of library campaigners before the planning committee sat
Photographs by Allen Samuels.

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September Update

Hi Everyone,

1.      The Chief Planning Officer for Brent Council has recommended refusal of planning permission for the development of Kensal Rise Library. Emoji

His report can be read on the Brent Planning website. Link below.

Thank you to all of you that sent in objections about the proposed development.

As well as a submission from the ‘The Friends of Kensal Rise Library’  opposing the planning application we also sent in a petition against the proposal with 1478 signatures of local people and endorsement and support from 54 local organisations and businesses.

Well done to everyone in Kensal Green/Kensal Rise.


2.      Planning Committee Site Meeting

Saturday 14th September at 9.50 am at Kensal Rise Library. The Planning Committee will be visiting Kensal Rise Library at this time. At the end of the visit you will be allowed to comment. You may have been sent a letter by the planning committee about this. Caroline will be reading stories for children at the children’s pop up library. Hope to see you all there


3.      The Friends of Kensal Rise Library on the advice of the Metroplitan Police have sent a letter to Brent Council to complain about the suspicious statements of support for the proposed development for the library building. They have clear evidence that addresses of residents have been used without their consent and empty buildings and invented addresses have been cited in online comments. These have the potential to influence and mislead the public and the planning department, as well as the planning committee of Brent Council who will decide if the proposal is to go ahead.

These actions are also illegal. Thank you to those of you that have sent letters to the planning department if your address has been used in this way. We will be sending a further batch to the council this week and are looking forward to the results of the investigation that is being conducted by the council. We have also notified All Souls College of our evidence and the investigation being conducted by the council. We would like to thank Cllr Roxanne Mashari for her swift action in organising this investigation, and also the Metropolitan Police for their advice.


4.      Planning Committee Meeting Wednesday 18th September at 7pm at the Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley. The Friends of Kensal Rise Library will be represented at this meeting by my Co-Chair David Butcher. There will be other speakers including two from local resident’s associations and whoever has requested permission to speak and also the developer or his agent.

At this meeting the Planning Committee, which is made up of councillors, will decide whether or not to accept the recommendation of the Chief Planning Officer to refuse planning permission for the proposal for the library by Mr Andrew Gillick of Kensal Properties Ltd. We would like to see as many of you as possible at this meeting as it is important that we show how this community feels about the proposed development.


5.      Transport to Planning Committee Meeting: We will be organising transport because getting to the Civic Centre and back is a bit awkward from here. A bus will be leaving from the library at 5.45pm on Wednesday 18th September. If you would like to travel on the bus could you please let me know so that I can reserve your place.


6.      MA Architecture Exhibition at University of Westminster 35 Marylebone Rd NW1 5LS

Friday 13th September 6.30pm – 9.30pm and continues 14-24th September 9am – 9pm.

Liliya Kovachka who has just completed her MA at Westminster University will be holding an exhibition of her work. Liliya designed and made the brilliant shelves at the pop up library and has invited the entire community to view her project at this exhibition.

Admission is free. Nearest tube Baker St. Thank you Liliya for your continued support.


7.      We hope to be organising a One day Literature Festival in late Autumn.

More details on this soon.


Many thanks to everyone for your continued support for this very long campaign.


Margaret Bailey

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August update

Hi Everyone,
The Kensal Rise Library building needs you now!
There is still time to register an objection to the developer’s planning application to put seven dwellings in the library building.
You can lodge your objection up until 9th September.
Below is the link to the Brent planning website:
 If you object to flats in the library don’t expect your neighbours to do your planning objection for you. You need to go to that Brent Council planning website and lodge in the strongest possible terms your objections to the library building being robbed from this community and turned into flats which will make the developer and All Souls richer than they already are.
The developer is trying to portray his act of providing a small ‘community hub’ as an act of generosity. The terms of his sale agreement with All Souls stipulate that an area has to be set aside for a library.
He is paying the College less for the building because of this agreement.
The developer has submitted his plans for the library building and the decision to approve or not will be made by Brent’s planning committee on 18th September.
If you need any help come to the pop up on the weekend or email me for guidance.
Margaret Bailey

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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:

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


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August Update – Act Now!‏

Hi Everyone,Urgent update! Act now to save the library!What’s happening?
 Property developer Andrew Gillick has submitted plans to put six luxury flats and a house in the Kensal Rise Library Building. The building has always been for community use. So campaigners (The Friends of Kensal Rise Library) have tried to protect the building by persuading Brent Council to list it as an ‘Asset of Community Value’.
However, if the Planning Committee ignores this listing and Gillick succeeds, only a small part of the building will remain for the community. Once the building goes residential the community will lose it forever. A building that the community helped to pay for, and has used and loved for over a hundred years.
The Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL) have considered the developer’s proposal in detail with the help of expert advice, and have decided to oppose the grant of planning permission. They consider that the whole building should remain for the benefit of the community.

What can I do? 
 Write to Brent Council expressing your concerns. You can write by post or email, or make your comments online. In order for your objection to be valid, you must include your full name and address, and the reference number for the application, which is 13/2058.
You can see the full planning application on the Brent Council website at (where you can also make online comments).
The case officer is Robin Sedgwick, telephone 020 8937 5229, and you can contact him with any queries about the application. The statutory consultation period ends on 29th August 2013, but objections received until around the end of August are likely to be taken into account.

 Write online or by post
Email address for objections:
Postal address for objections:
Mr Robin Sedgwick, Planning Department, Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley HA9 0FJ
It is much better and more powerful to write your own letter
It is important the Council receives as many written objections as possible.
Remember to include your name, address and planning reference number: 13/2058

Letter writing sessions:  Come to one of our letter writing sessions to be held on:

Saturday 17th August & Sunday 18th August 11am-4pm at the Pop-up Library (corner of Bathurst Gdns & College Rd)

On what basis can I object to the application?
 Brent Council states on its website that they will take into account issues that include the following (our emphasis added):
· Problems of noise, smell, dust, traffic etc.
· Loss of light, privacy or outlook
· Number, size, layout, siting and external appearance of buildings
· The impact on traffic safety and conges-tion; the effects on parking provision
· The impact on travel patterns – the availability of public transport and facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and disabled people
· The impact on the environment and public safety
· The loss of trees and other natural features
· The provision of landscaping
· The adequacy of infrastructure like roads and schools etc
· The impact on protected areas like Conservation Areas,
· Protected Open Space and Nature Conservation Sites
· Loss of Protected Land Uses (in areas or sites which are retained for residential use, community use)
· Impact on employment
· Opportunities for crime from the design of the development
· The effect on the character of the area
· It is also relevant that the building has been listed as an Asset of Community Value. This applies to the whole building and means that the planners must take into account that the building has been listed in this way.
If there is anything else you would like to mention then it is best to include it rather than leave it out.
The Council states that the following cannot be taken into account when deciding a planning application:
· Loss of property value.
· Nuisance from building work (this is controlled by other legislation)
· Moral considerations (e.g. objections to drinking, gambling etc.)
· The personality of the applicant
· Boundary disputes and other private matters
· The fact that an applicant may make a commercial gain as a result of a successful application
· Matters covered by Building Regulations (impact on foundations, sewerage etc)
· Loss of view from a private property
· Commercial competition, where for example a proposed shop will directly compete for the trade of another.
More about the background to the current situation
 Last year, Brent Council chose to return Kensal Rise Library to All Souls College, Oxford, rather than accept a proposal from the Friends of Kensal Rise Library to run the library at no cost to the Council. All Souls then held an open marketing process and the Friends submitted a proposal that would have retained the whole building for community use. Instead of accepting this, All Souls have chosen to sell the library building to a property developer whose priority is making a huge profit out of the building with little regard for what this community wants or needs.
Deadline for responding to planning application: 29th August 2013
In his planning application the developer says we are a ‘vocal minority’, let’s prove him wrong and show him that Kensal Green/Kensal Rise are unified on this issue and are in fact a ‘vocal majority’.
A majority that does not want flats in the library but wants the building to remain for the benefit of the whole community and to have in it what we need and want.
Margaret Bailey

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Leaflet 8 August 20131

Leaflet 8 August 20132

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Our Asset of Community Value turned into flats?

The developer Andrew Gillick has submitted his plans for Kensal Rise Library to Brent planning.
The link is:
Note below from the Department of Communities and Local Government – are you listening Brent?
DCLG policy statement on Asset of Community Value states: 
“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.”
We will update you with details.

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July Update

Hi Everyone,
1. The community unified
Since the public meeting there has been a tremendous response in the community to our plans to present evidence to Brent’s planning committee opposing change of use of the Kensal Rise Library building from community use to residential. Over 45 local businesses and organisations have endorsed our petition opposing change of use of the building.
The Kensal Green branch of the Labour Party voted last week to support our aims to keep the library building in community use. Thank you to the branch who have been consistent in their support for our campaign.
This community does not want flats in the library, it wants a library in the library. It wants the building that we helped to pay for and to which All Souls College contributed not  a single penny to remain for the use of the community.
Putting six flats in the building and  a small space for a library, which we don’t think is viable, is not a fair deal for this community.
Cllr Roxanne Mashari, the new lead member for libraries has organised a meeting for us with Brent planning so that we can put the case for protecting the Kensal Rise Library building which the council designated an asset of community value.
2.  Petition
We have been circulating a paper petition locally which will contribute to the evidence we present to Brent planning to show that there are alternatives to flats in the building.
This petition is now online:
If you live in Kensal Green, Brondesbury or Queens Park wards please sign this petition and don’t sign if you have signed the paper one.
3. Survey
If you haven’t filled in the survey telling us your views about the Kensal Rise Library please take the time to do so. It will really help us to know how the community feels about the whole issue of the library/the campaign/flats etc and will also add weight to the evidence we present to the planning committee.
The link is below:
4. Quiz Night at The Masons Arms.
Tuesday 16th July at 8pm. Tickets on the door for £5.
Please support the campaign and have an entertaining night out competing against the greatest brains in Kensal Green/Kensal Rise.
Thank you to The Masons Arms for their continued support for our campaign.
Thank you to all of you that have stood strong for nearly three years now, there is still hope that there will be a good outcome for the enormous effort that has been put into this campaign.
We have become a stronger community, we know each other better, we care about and value where we live.
And it must be time for me to go to bed, this update is getting a bit emotional. When I think about the campaign I think about the really decent people that live around here and what a pleasure it is to be part of a community that values a simple thing such as a library is.
Simple but powerful.
Margaret Bailey

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Pub Quiz, Tuesday 16 July 2013, 8pm start at The Masons Arms

PUB QUIZ on 16 July 2013 at the Mason's Arms

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Letter to The Guardian by Meg Howarth about Brent Council





Dear Letters Editor

With due pride but no hint of irony, Councilor Jim Moher announces that the ‘Welcome Mandela’ plaque – made to commemorate Nelson’s Mandela’s 1990 visit to London – is to be installed in Brent Council’s expensive new ‘civic centre’ as a belated fitting memorial to the great man (Mandela and Brent, 26 June).

Ninety years prior to Mandela’s visit and his shameful treatment by Brent Council’s Tories, another famous overseas visitor to the north-west London borough – then Willesden – was commemorated by local politicians. Until it was removed in a shameful dawn raid 18 months ago, a brass plaque marked the opening in 1900 of Kensal Rise Library by Mark Twain, author of Huckleberry Finn (Kensal Rise Library stripped in night of books and Twain plaque, 29 May 2012).

Councillor Moher – together with his wife – was a Brent councillor and member of the ruling Labour group at the time of last year’s shameful event (both remain so). Perhaps he’d like to add his voice to the campaign to save this historic library, part funded by Andrew Carnegie and built on land owned by All Souls Oxford, by writing to Sir John Vickers, warden of the college – and chairman of the Independent Commission on Banking – requesting that the building be returned to its rightful use. The commemorative plaque could then be restored to its rightful place – inside the local library, not the civic centre. Brent Council’s and All Souls’ reputations could then rise from the ashes of this shabby episode.



Meg Howarth


19a Ellington Street


Twitter: @howarthm

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