|Poster at yesterday's demonstration
Brent Council had referred the matter, first revealed back in September, to the police although they appeared to take a considerable amount of time to give them all the information and open channels of communication. The emails, in favour of Andrew Gillick's redevelopment plans, used names and addresses of local residents without their permission. To add insult to injury those residents many of them were opposed to the plans.
I find it hard to understand why, in these circumstances, the police are not taking action. The developer stands to gain thousands of pounds if his development is given the go ahead, while elsewhere in the now infamous Iceland case the police were ready to prosecute people over removing discarded food from a skip.
Campaigners had argued that Gillick's revised planning application should not be heard until the matter of the fake emails had been cleared up. The police decision not to pursue the matter hardly clears it up and any new application will be heard in an atmosphere of suspicion.
Meanwhile, in another sub-plot, All Souls College, has claimed that it was Brent Council that forced them to take action to remove the Kensal Rise pop up library. The Kilburn Times LINK yesterday reported that All Souls College had been told to remove the pop up by Brent Council planning enforcement officers and that they had delayed until the last minute in the interests of the community. After the story had been published both Muhammed Butt and Cllr James Denselow tweeted that
"we decided not to take enforcement action...All Souls College initiated the removal of the pop up library" Brent Planning HeadTo add to the general murk it appears that Brent Council had known for some time, and certainly before Butt's late night tweet, that the police were not pursuing the fake emails issue.
All Souls College yesterday told that student newspaper Cherwell that the 'hysterical twitosphere' LINK had misrepresented the incident. Their story contained a statement from Cluttons, the All Souls estate managers who organised the demolition of the pop up library:
Following an extensive examination of the various options put forward for the future of the former library building, the College considers that a sale to Kensal Properties, and their proposals for the property, provides a viable long term future for the building.A passerby has contacted me to say that furniture was being removed from the library last night.
This proposal not only meets the College’s Charities Act obligations, but it also provides for a community library facility. In order to progress with these plans, and for health and safety and insurance reasons, the property has had to be cleared.
Commenting on the Cherwell story Stephanie Schonfield said:
UPDATE: At lunchtime today Lorraine King, News Editor of the Kilburn Times tweeted:As per last night's BBC Radio interview:
1.Why didn't the College post warning notices on the Pop-up or in the local press - a month, a week, or even a day before - advising residents to dismantle the structure or face the consequences? Instead, bullyboy All Souls sent in a bunch of heavies - in the middle of the night - to smash up this inner city community's initiative.
2. Half the Pop-Up Library didn't even stand on College land, yet All Souls destroyed that too. The smashed structure, lovingly built and maintained by locals, was chucked in a van and the books dumped on the roadside in the rain.
3. The Pop-Up had won the support of the Council's Lead Member for Libraries, Cllr Roxanne Mashari, who, alerted by distressed residents, visited the site just hours after the demolition. Ward Councillors also supported the Pop-Up, which became a site for poetry and book readings, children's storytelling and carol singing.
I've an email from All Souls College saying they removed the pop up library in Kensal Rise after they were contacted by Brent CouncilThe email was sent on Friday evening and Lorraine has said she will be following it up on Monday.