Friday, 8 April 2011


Brent Fightback along with library campaigners will be lobbying the Executive Meeting on Monday outside the Town Hall from 6pm. The Executive is the decision making body on library closures. The Extraordinary Council Meeting later in the week is not empowered to change Executive decisions. 

Public attendance arrangements for Monday's Executive meeting are the same as for the recent budget setting Council meeting. Admittance will be by ticket on a first come - first served basis.  Tickets will be distributed at the Town Hall door from around 6pm.  There will be 48 tickets only for the public gallery.

There is a notice on the door of the Town Hall Library saying that the library, which usually closes at 8pm on a Monday, will be closed at 5pm 'Due to the Executive Meeting'. This presumably is to avoid any repeat of the Council Meeting when protesters,  frustrated at the limitation on attendance,  circumvented security and the police by entering the Town Hall through the adjoining library.  Certainly 48 is a very small number of the public compared with the more than 9,000 who have signed petitions to keep the libraries open..

Both The Willesden and Brent Times and Wembley and Willesden Observer have editorials critical of Brent Council this week. The WBT says Labour councillors have 'steam-rollered' their original plans through and ignored the results of consultation. They state along similar lines that I have argued here:
As one activist said, the impression is that the council is just going through the motions rather than taking people's views into account. If the council are not careful residents will just stop engaging with them or, in their eyes, worse, take their votes elsewhere.
 The WWO says residents have never been so vocal as on the libraries issue and say it has left campaigners wondering what the point of consulting was if their views were always intended to be ignored:
It seems the protesters were unfortunately always doomed to fail in this sham of a process which has now been deemed a farce by campaign groups. Brent Council had already made up its mind when it set the budget back in February - before the consultation finished.
They call on the Executive to look beyond the closure report and:
consider the overwhelming community spirit which has united the borough in the crusade to save their beloved reading rooms...
 It is rare for our local newspapers to criticise the council in such harsh terms and great to see them making a firm stand alongside local people in the best tradition of a strong local press holding the council to account.  A huge turn-out on Monday is essential to reinforce the message: The fight for our libraries and our other services is not yet lost. The ConDem government is doing a u-turn on the NHS, Brent Council should think again.

No comments: