Saturday 16 July 2011

Brent to decide on library disposal strategy before Judicial Review application heard

Brent Executive has been asked to decide on a strategy for disposal of the six libraries ear-marked for closure at their meeting on Monday, just one day before the Judicial review case is heard at the Royal Courts of Justice. The Council claims that this is justified by the need to avoid delays and maximise savings as long as the decisions are not irrevocable. However, they advise councillors to merely note the Save Preston Library campaigner's petition against any sale or disposal of that library 'that does not include a public library for the use of local citizens' because 'there are no current proposals put forward for the use of the Preston Road site upon sale or disposal'.

The report says the Council's initial approach will be to see if there is any alternative Council use for the buildings but states that to date the only alternative considered is use to satisfy the surplus demand for school places.

The Proposals
Kensal Rise and Cricklewood affected by Covenant in favour of All Souls College. The Council has asked the College to consider use by community groups. They have responded by saying that they wish to await the outcome of the Judicial Review and are not likely to want to deal directly with a community group, but might consider allowing occupation via the Council. The Council state that this would be dependent on All Souls agreement, variation of the covenant and a community group proposal of such economic, social or environmental benefit to the Council's are that it would out-weigh a decision to revert.

Neasden Library - leasehold (lease expires in September 2027, rent £55,000 per annum plus utilities and rates). The landlord was not interested in surrender of the lease in current conditions but agreed sub-letting to a third party. As there was 'no community interest' expressed during the consultation period and it doesn't appear suitable for school use it has been placed with local agents.

Preston Library freehold, the report says that it that the site appears suitable for a variety of uses ranging from educational use such as a private nursery to residential use. Note there is no mention of use for surplus school places as above. The Council propose to discuss suitable uses with the planning department and then instruct consultants to prepare a marketing brief for this site and Tokyngton Library which they think is suitable for an in-fill development of 2-4 houses.

Barham Library held in Trust by the Council along with other Barham Park buildings. The short-term proposal is for use by the adjacent children;'s centre on a care-taking basis and to undertake a feasibility study for the complex of buildings in the longer term.

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