Friday, 26 October 2012

All Souls College sells out to developers

The Brent and Kilburn Times reports that All Souls College are to sell the Cricklewood and Kensal Rise libraries to developers, despite the pleas of local library campaigners that they be handed over to the community. LINK

Friends of Kensal Rise Library had raised more than £70,000 to fund their proposal.

The land is now likely to be used to build flats.

All Souls College is a registered charity with assets of £264,000,000. Clearly in this case money talks.

My admiration and sympathy goes out to the campaigners who fought so hard for what in any worthwhile society should be a given: an accessible, free public library and public space.


Anonymous said...

This is very sad news, but hopefully not the end of the line.
All Souls College, Oxford, was given large chunks of land in what is now Brent by both Kings and Archbishops in the 15th century, to provide it with rental income to meet the costs of running a post-graduate theological college. That land has become very valuable over the centuries, but as an educational charity it was still happy to donate the sites at Kensal Rise (c.1900) and Cricklewood (c.1929) to Willesden Urban District Council, as long as they were used to provide public library services to the people of those areas.
Willesden's successors at Brent Council have betrayed that trust. In one of the worst decisions I can remember in thirty years as a borough resident, the Executive ignored the views of local people, clearly expressed in a consultation exercise, and backed without question the "vision" for future library services of Council Officers. Brent's residents clearly wanted local library provision across the borough. A sensible alternative would have been for the Executive to delay the closures for, say, six months, giving local groups the chance to come up with a viable plan for taking over "their" library, which they must either be ready to implement at the end of that period or see the library closed. Instead they decided not to consider any alternative to their Officers' plans, and to fight their own residents and Council Tax payers!
I hope that the "Friends" of both Kensal Rise and Cricklewood libraries can persuade the developers to provide some community facilities as part of what is built on each All Souls College site, which can then be used for local community libraries, amongst other things. I also hope that Brent Councillors and Officers, realising that Brent got the 2011 decision badly wrong, will do all they can to help bring this about, by engaging with the developers in support of local residents and community groups, and through the planning process. I wish the Cricklewood and Kensal Rise groups success in this.
Philip Grant

trevor said...

Developers in this borough are not known for listening to the thoughts of local residents
because of course they always know better and their ideas are always sound and this is why in 2012 the borough and country is in such a mess and no matter what they do in response you can be certain that rather than things imporoving they will instead get worse.
I wouldn't even waste my Time trying to persuade the developers to go back on their plans because although having ears they will hear of course but will only listen to themselves @ the end of the day because again of course as always they know better.