Friday 16 December 2011

Council tells Willesden Bookshop to quit by April 17th 2012

Steve Adams and other workers at the Willesden Bookshop have sent me this comment on  my story about the bookshop's uncertain future if the Willesden Green Library redevelopment goes ahead.
We are mystified and a little confused by the fact that both the November and December Executive meetings did not have the redevelopment proposals on the agenda. We had originally been told that a decision would be made at the November meeting, and just prior to that the Property and Management division of the Council served a Section 25 notice on us: a legal notice giving us 6 months' notice to terminate our tenancy and requesting vacant possession by April 17th 2012. They made it clear that there would be no provision for retail space in the new building.

Naturally, we are dismayed at the prospect of our tenancy being terminated. Having looked at rent levels on the High Road we are not confident that we could afford to relocate - given all the current pressures on independent bookshops in this new age of the Kindle and Amazon's dominant market position - although we have not taken any final decision on this.

We will circulate a link to your blog amongst various customers and local residents who have offered support in trying to make the Council aware of the strength of local opposition to these plans for a mammoth apartment complex with a library and museum buried somewhere in its midst. No local residents we have spoken to want this development - and consider it further folly that when 6 libraries are being closed, one of the few remaining large libraries should then be closed for al least two years with only some adhoc temporary facility taking its place.
The Kilburn Bookshop  closed at the end of March last year. You can see the manager's comments on its demise HERE


Gastronomix said...

So much for labour sticking up for the needs of the public.If this goes ahead we may as well consider Brent a book free zone.

Sarah Cox said...

This is disgusting. The Willesden Bookshop is one of the best independent bookshops in London and, as well as catering to the needs of local readers (it's better stocked and organised than the library next door in my experience), it provides an immensely valuable service for schools, not just ordering and delivering books but advising teachers and always making them (and children) feel welcome. It has the best stock of multicultural and bi- and multi-lingual books and resources of any bookshop that I know. Doesn't Brent Council appreciate that? Surely provision for a replacement bookshop should be a priority in the new development. The development should be done in the interests of the people of the area. It shyould not be yet another vanity project for the book-haters Ann John and Gareth Daniel. No, you can't get all the books you need from Tesco, Ann John. YOU NEED LIBRARIES AND GOOD BOOKSHOPS.

John Redpath said...

Very disappointed as a Head Teacher my schools have used Willesden Book Shop for years and years, a brilliant shop and always full of the sort of books we want our children to read.