Friday, 11 May 2012

Old Willesden Library demolition proposals published

The proposed development
Most of the planning documents for the proposed Willesden Cultural Centre are now available on the Brent Council website.  They are numerous and will need careful study. There is a main planning application for the demolition of the Victorian Library, 1980s Library, bookshop etc and the building of 92 flats and the Cultural Centre and an application relating to the Conservation Area. Most of the documentation is replicated on both sites.

Main Planning Application HERE

Conservation Area Application HERE

The future of the Old Willesden Library is of particular interest to many and the Heritage Statement is available below.

One key section states:
The loss of the Old Library is to some extent mitigated through ‘preservation by record’ and the undertaking of the historic buildings survey to English Heritage Level II standards, and which has been used in this report to understand the building’s significance. Should consent be granted for this or future schemes affecting historic fabric, it is recommended that additional recording be undertaken during demolition in order to supplement this report with further details of the building’s history.

It is also recommended that specific elements of the architectural fabric are retained, and where possible, reused within the new building as architectural details, art installations and/or exhibits within the museum space. While it is recognised that the scheme represents the total loss of the Old Library, the retention of certain elements would evoke the cultural memory of the building and help preserve the historic narrative of development on the site. Those pieces that should be considered for retention are as follows, though further elements may be revealed during the demolition process:

· Shell-hood above the former entrance way on the north elevation;

· Parge work on the north elevations and around the tower;

· Plaque commemorating the building on north elevation; and

· Weather-vane on summit of the tower

The remaining historic fabric and fixtures such as window frames should be considered for salvage, and where suitable, deposited in a suitable store such as the Charles Brooking Collection currently housed in Surrey.

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