Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Time for a public debate on Kensal Rise Library issues

At the beginning of this month I carried a 'Guest Blog'  LINK from trustees of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library on why they had reached an agreement with the developer, Andrew Gillick. This has attracted many comments with the debate becoming quite heated at times. I posted an update on the planning application for the redevelopment of the library building on Saturday LINK which has also attracted debate.  The revelation of the option agreemment between All Souls and Andrew Gillick LINK added another dimension to the discussion.

There are three main questions arising from the debate as far as I can see:

1. Is the agreement the best deal possible for the campaign to safeguard a community library space in the building, is it secure and will the Friends be able to raise the necessary funds for the upkeep and running of the space?
2. Should the police investigation into the fraudulent emails supporting Andrew Gillick's first planning application be concluded before the Brent Planning Committee considers this planning application and would a delay put the acquisition of the community space in jeopardy?
3. What are the ramifications of the option agreement and should it be submitted as evidence to the Planning Committee?

Having hosted this debate on Wembly Matters I do recognise that it has reached only a small number of people but concerns a whole local community.

As the issue is clearly controversial with strong opinions voiced on both sides, I wonder of there should be a public meeting where some of these matters can be thrashed out, starting from the assumption that everyone wants to retain a library presence in the building?

The consultation closes on April 28th and there is a possibility that the application will go to the May 14th Planning Committee, a week before the local elections.


  1. According to open charities http://opencharities.org/charities/1141606

    the following people are name as Trustees of Friends of Kensal Rise Library


    What is the view from all of these named Trustees ?

    1. A statement from all the Trustees on deferring the latest planning application until after the CID has reported on the fake emails inquiry would be especially welcome.

  2. According to the Charity Commission when the FKRL campaign was in full swing for the period ending March 2013 they reported only £3,404 income and spending of £2,133 and are claiming they are under the threshold of £10K to file accounts

    I find this exceptionally hard to believe given the fact that it was such a high profile campaign and received many donations. I recall some figures being quoted that they had £16K in the bank

    Granted some main pledges were only if the library were secured, but a figure of only several thousand received in income just does not add up.

    FKRL where is the money the community pledged ?

    1. What's the motivation for this enquiry?
      Is there any real basis for it?
      Timing seems odd. Not sure whether I smell a red herring or a rat.

    2. Unfortunately FKRL are accountable to both the community and the Charity Commission.

      They unfortunately are not doing themselves any favours by pretending this is some kind of fiefdom.

      It all appears rather odd with substantially less in the charity coffer than what had been assumed had actually been donated, given the level of support and even in the first year from 2011 -2012 over £10K was donated Why so little in the 2012-2013 period when the campaign was in full swing ?

    3. Figures below are taken from the official 'Financial summary' for FKRL on the Charity Commission link (Comment above, 13.09)
      Income Spending
      31 Mar 2013 £3,404 £2,133
      30 Apr 2012 £10,600 £2,810

      So what happened to the £7,790 surplus, left over from the 2012 accounts? Why doesn't it appear in the 2013 accounts?

    4. Lawyers cost money, banners cost money, planning consultants cost money, making a developers life difficult cost money, drinks, cakes, shelves, books, travel, skips, it all costs money.....

    5. Fair point. Perhaps it would help if FKRL would explain why the almost £8,000 in the bank at the end of financial year 2012 doesn't show as having been carried over to the beginning of the 2013 year http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/CharityWithoutPartB.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1141606&SubsidiaryNumber=0.

    6. All these costs should be reported for accountability.

      FKRL are saying "Trust Us"

      I am having a hard time deciding if I can "Trust Them"

    7. Bit rich the Lawyers charging.

      I thought lawyers were doing it on No win no fee basis.

      Figures lawyers are after our money that we all put in.

      It makes me sick.

    8. Ask Jodi about how the money was spent. She recommended planning consultants that cost several thousand pounds, to object to Gillick's first planning application.

      But Jodi's recommended consultants turned out to be so bad in this case, that their report couldn't be used.

      So Margaret, Stephanie and Laura ended up writing the 70-page objection document, while everyone else was on summer hols. Those three gave up their summer - for free - last year to help win the planning application decision.

      The fight to keep a library for locals continues.

    9. Dear Anonymous 18 April 2014 11:45, In regard to your allegations, here are the facts:

      The planning consultant was known to SKRL and FKLR and had previously worked on a pro bono basis to the satisfaction of both groups. Subsequently they requested payment for creating a planning report (related to Gillicks first application). I, and a few others, felt that getting professional advice was important and wanted to proceed with their services.

      Not all trustees agreed, so I offered to hire them independently (and fundraise for the costs) so that FKRL could still have the benefit of their services without the financial burden. This met with resistance, and my fellow trustees asked me to justify my motivations and to prove I could be trustworthy without the oversight of FKRL. My offer to hire the consultants was rejected and, in a change of heart, FKRL chose to appoint the planning agency directly.

      Unfortunately, as with many small firms, the planning company went through a shift in personnel, (and financial stability?). In contrast to their earlier work, the planning report was not satisfactory. That FKRL was able to repair the planning document, build on it, and submit it to the planners (to object to Gillicks initial proposal for change of use of Kensal Rise Library), is all credit to them. Their effort was instrumental to the rejection of Gillicks first planning application, and their hard work should not be forgotten.

      In regard to payment, I cannot say why FKRL ultimately chose to pay for a sub standard document that couldn't be used, and it isn't my place to comment. Perhaps the FKRL trustees active on this bog can advise?

      Regardless of the above, throwing daggers my way is irrelevant to the critical issue of preserving the Kensal Rise Library building for the community, and a complete distraction from the important points that need discussion. More decorum, less venom please.

    10. In full support of Jodi.

      She is right to say the prime objective should be preserving the community building.

      It is assumed FKRL finances are in trouble as they agreed to pay for report but did not have money to pay for it. FKRL now seem to be putting blame on Jodi. Unfairly I would suggest.

      It might be better for FKRL be put into administration if this is the case and judging by the lack of forthcoming information on FKRL finances it is very possible they are struggling
      This is what now seems to be the case reading between the lines.

      There are a number alternatives and FKRL are now very closed minded now of the outcoming.

      Hope this might sum it up

    11. Thanks

      At least we are getting to the bottom of why finances look bad.

      Seems like Jodi has been scapegoat

  3. To be fair there is often a substantial difference between what is pledged and what is eventually paid into the account

  4. Some people here live in the clouds.

    Do you think attacking everyone around you and wasting their time will get you anywhere?

    No it wont.


    Councillors are doing their best considering the circumstances
    FKRL are doing their best considering the circumstances and are HONEST

    When some people don't get their way here they are very childish...

    1. If anon post 12:49 is a FKRL Trustee it proves what everyone has thought recently, that Councillors have stitched together a deal so that for the May election they save face.

      Surely a good Councillor would be coming forward and supporting the call for suspension of planning application pending outcome of alleged fraud investigation.

      That is what the majority of people want. It is proven so far by the published objections to planning application.

      People don't want some stitch up.

    2. FKRL would be "doing their best," in the eyes of the community, if FKRL accept the public need to immediately declare that they will not support the planning application until the alleged fraud investigation is complete.

      A simple statement as above will get FKRL all the support they deserve.

      Why is it so difficult ?

    3. Bravo, Anonymous at 15.34. Spot on. Thank you.

    4. What do you think the fraud investigation will yield?.
      Are you aware of any policy that prevents someone from submitting a planning application if he/she is under fraud investigation?

    5. Case law always begins with a "First Case" and then sets legal precedent.

      If developer does not agree to wait and clear this mess up, develop could then challenge to set legal precedent.

      But so what ?

      Brent are forever throwing money at legal cases, case in point Barham Park.

      A judge might actually rule it is right to suspend planning application in these particular circumstances and then we will all know.

    6. If there was fraud do you not think it would have been dealt with in September?

      And who is going to take this case?

      Will you be there to write a big compensation cheque to the developer for delaying his business and damaging his name? No didnt think so.

    7. The first sentence. Disingenuous? Or just extremely naïve?

    8. What an odd question, at 00.59 - 'who is going to take this case?' The police will prosecute if there is sufficient evidence of criminal fraud.

    9. Anonymous at 00.59 - Andrew Gillick has damaged his own name as the Option Agreement makes clear. In violation of 15.1 which specified no library space in the basement, that is precisely what he included in his original planning application. I note that All Souls didn't intervene to remind him that he was breaking the agreement it had signed with him.

  5. When it comes to choosing between the community campaign FKRL or Anonymous - I am going to go with Anonymous who sound GREAT

  6. There is no fraud simple as that.

    Wake up the library is closed and now it is time for it to be put to good use= homes for ordinary Londoners.

    1. You say ordinary homes

      I bet the price will not be ordinary, so NO the homes will not be for "Ordinary Londoners" Whatever ordinary means

    2. Well you could sell your house and buy one couldn't you= ordinary homes for Londoners

      It's not exactly a penthouse in the Shard.

  7. Unless there is a mistake, these accounts do not bode well for FKRL to remain as a going concern and keep the lights on

    Do FKRL have any debts still outstanding such as lawyer fees, planning fees etc that had been promised if and when planning application is successful.

    Perhaps the real reason why FKRL need the planning application to be accepted is to settle outstanding debts on the assumption money pledged in 2012-2013 will come good from the community once the deal is done. This might explain the reason for their recent haste. If this is the case it would be like the community throwing more money down the black hole sewer, never to return.

    The community deserves to know the truth about FKRL finances, as the community would be even more upset if we eventually found there was a black hole in the current finances and the money pledge if handed over now, once the deal is done could all go to waste.

    FKRL may get more sympathy if they are honest about the current situation and better solutions could be found, that may eventually protect the building for generations to come.

      Unlike you (Anonymus), I have nothing to hide. This is Paula Gomez, and as you know I am one of the trustees, and the Treasurer.
      You are very welcome to come to my house and review the accounts with me.
      I would love to meet you and understand your concerns and motivations for spending so much of your time trying to discredit a hard working group.

    2. Stick the kettle on.

      I am coming around to find out when the missing thousands are.....

    3. Hardly enough to run a library now Paula is it?

      And you said you could buy the building to the community...

      is that a pig in the sky?

  8. Who is "the community" and who represents them?

  9. The definition of a community my friend and neighbour is

    "a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common."

    That is "US," all wanting the best for such a lovely building.

  10. Who would run the library then?

    Think the Police need to have a look at this.

    Could it be Investigation number 2?

    Can someone twitter Mo Butt and get him on the scene?

  11. Was Jodi kicked out of FKRL?

    Who is in charge of the financed at FKRL?

    1. I think Jodi and one other trustee resigned rather than be associated with this deal.

    2. Good on Jodi if this is the case.

      Stick up for what you believe in.

    3. Sorry. Jodi did not resign on this issue. She resigned long before, because she wanted to tweet as an individual.

      As an FKRL Trustee, she had a responsibility NOT to tweet profanely as in this her tweet, just before she resigned:

      “JodiGramigni ‏‪@JodiGramigni‬ Feb 2
      Dear Anonymous,
      F*** off.
      Kind regards,
      Everyone & the Hippies”

      (My asterisks.) I was at the meeting when she decided herself to resign over tweeting.

      Jodi’s subsequent gracious message on Facebook confirms my experience of working over the last 3 years with the FKRL campaigners:
      “Jodianne Chen Gramigni
      February 11
      Just attended my last meeting as a FKRL Trustee. It's been amazing to work with such a dedicated group of people”.

      I agree with Jodi: it's been amazing, and a privilege, to work with such a caring, competent bunch of neighbours.

    4. So FKRL attempted to censor a trustee from swearing on her personal twitter feed? This gets worse! FKRL sound like a bunch of Stalinists!

    5. Jodi Gramigni's may not have been the most gracious tweet but the comment by 'Stephanie' is deplorable: i) there was no need to repeat the tweet - 'asterisks' included, of course - the first paragraph was enough to set the record straight about Jodi's reason for resigning as a Trustee - if that was the intention; ii) Jodi was tweeting, as far as I can tell, in a personal capacity. I've checked her Twitter handle and nowhere does she state she's an FKRL Trustee.

      The comment is also confused and confusing: did FKRL ban all its members from using Twitter in a personal capacity, or only if they tweeted 'profanely' - what an odd choice of word; trying to reach the moral high ground, perhaps? If so it's failed, for this reader at least. The whiff of moralistic purity is deeply unpleasant. Then, to cap it all - pun intended - in comes the capitalised 'NOT'. Used in the context of tweeting, this smacks of Stalinist diktat, like Kim Jong Un on haircuts.

      It seems to me that the purpose of the the comment was entirely malicious.

    6. Sadly this is the only way silence critiques !

      Freedom of speech

      Ah Right FKRL

      You have lost my support

    7. This is outrageous. I am a member of many different organisations and I tweet as an individual. I don't expect all the organisations I am part of to agree with, or even be interested in, many of my tweets.

      It really does look like Margaret Bailey's support for the Soviet Union has taken form in Kensal Green.

    8. Not meant maliciously, ‘Anonymous’. I’m just stating facts.

      At the time, Jodi was tweeting as a Trustee of a charity. Like it or not, that office carries responsibilities.

      It was Jodi's decision and she herself explains her change to tweeting as an individual: ‏‪'@JodiGramigni‬ Feb 11 
Going forward, I will continue to campaign for KRL, but in a personal capacity…' Been amazing to wk w/such a dedicated group.'

      I agree: it is amazing to work with such a dedicated, sound bunch of neighbours.

    9. Swearing was only one issue with Jodi tweeting as a Trustee, instead of as an individual.

      In this country you can’t name a person as responsible for a crime until they’ve been convicted - unless you want a libel suit. But Jodi did just that while tweeting as a Trustee. In so doing she jeopardised the charity she was representing.

      Even so, no-one forced her to leave. It was her decision.

    10. Has FRKL changed its mind on supporting the police inquiry in to the fake emails affair? If so, why? Does it support the holding of a public meeting as suggested on this blog? If not, why not? Thank you.

    11. My twitter account was, and is, a personal account. I did not tweet in my capacity as a FKRL trustee, nor did it ever state that I was one. Regardless of the the commentators above, my twitter account has always been an expression of my personal views as an individual, a local resident and campaigner.

      It was surprising to me that FKRL (which now informally includes SKRL - a campaign group) would take the view that a personal twitter account needs to be censored.

      Yet it is even more surprising that these same trustees are now choosing to discuss my resignation in detail in a public forum. Surely that breaches the strict rules of decorum that the charity demands? Or is it one rule for some, and another for others?

      The reason I resigned is multilayered, but I do not think it is appropriate to share these details publicly. If anyone wants to discuss privately I would be happy to do so. You can contact me via @jodigramigni on twitter (irony intended).

      Note to Anonymous (18 April 2014 01:36): if you feel you cannot contain your enthusiasm for indulging in gossip about FKRL trustee business, please at least have the courtesy to say who you are.

    12. I'm beginning to find FKRL more unpleasant by the day. Its members/supporters are happy quite unnecessarily to disclose details of a personal tweet but refuse to explain the breakdown of the charity's finances. I'm sorry, but this sounds like an organisation that's lost its way.

    13. Could I put in a word for Stalin at this point ..............

    14. Thank you for clarifying Jodi. It seems FKRL have lost all integrity. I'm embarrassed that I ever gave them any support.

    15. 'Disclose details of a personal tweet' - when are tweets ever not public?

      Jodi tweeted that somebody was guilty of a crime who wasn't yet convicted. And yes she also swore. Fine, do that, if that's what you want - if you're an individual.

      However Jodi did not make it clear at that time that she was not tweeting in her capacity as a trustee. That had potentially serious consequences for the charity she was representing.Certainly her tweets were perceived as FKRL tweets. If she had been clear before, why did she announce that from Feb 11 she was now tweeting as an individual?

      As for integrity, FKRL is made up of some of the most reliable, kind, hard-working people you're ever likely to meet. For years they have given up their free time for no reward other than the hope that they will restore their beloved library for the good of the many, not the few .As Jodi tweeted: "Been amazing to wk w/such a dedicated group."

    16. Like wise

      I hardly think the organization should be called "Friends of Kensal Rise Library."

      They don't seem friendly to me.

      Or perhaps due to recent political influence they have become Indfriendly ?

    17. Jodi your our hero.

      FKRL did not value your input at all.

    18. Comedy gold!

    19. How many times do you need to be told that a personal twitter feed is just that - a personal twitter feed. Jodi never said she was tweeting as a Trustee and her bio (before she changed it to say "former trustee of FKRL" said something like (if I remember correctly) "Loves her local library and isn't afraid to speak her mind" - it didn't mention FKRL at all, nor did the "offending" tweet. FKRL have their own twitter feed and I would take that to be the official voice of the trustees, not any one individual.

      It seems that FKRL have treated Jodi very poorly, I for one am very grateful that she has had the courage to speak out and I applaud her for doing so in such a diplomatic and gracious fashion.

    20. It seems FKRL are now run like a Dictatorship.

      Don't think anyone wants anything to do with FKRL with such behaviour.

      Is FKRL being run as some form of military coup with those quickly silenced, if the generals do not like what you say ?

      They used to be the most community caring of people.

      Good for Jodi to move on.

    21. Speaking of tweets, here's FKRL's latest: 'Blog post for those who doubt' with the link to Gaynor Lloyd's piece http://wembleymatters.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/blunt-speaking-in-favour-of-friends-of.html …

      FKRL has failed to post any of the three related WM blogs. Trying to bask in the glow of another's comment while failing to respond to the serious questions posed doesn't look good. It's as if FKRL views with contempt those who question its deal with Gillick and All Souls, and want to know why it's changed its mind on the police investigation. And it expects to run a local volunteer-led library?

    22. Yes

      Where are all those volunteers to run the library when FKRL have been so unpleasant recently.

  12. WHO IS GOING TO RUN THE LIBRARY WE ARE CLOSE TO BE GIVEN? Assuming the planning application goes through.

    This is not good at all.

    We could lose the library because the very charity set up to save it has lost public support.

    I am shocked for one.

  13. I am quickly coming to the conclusion the idea of a volunteer library here is a non runner.

    We have to realise the best use of this building is to let the ENTIRE building be turned into flats.

    People need homes not a part time amateur run library run on a shoe string that is guaranteed to be a total failure.

    The planners should tell the developer that he should scrap the library and do the development in its entirety as residential.

    More flats for brent, more council tax, more income from the planning consent...

    1. I would agree with you, if and only if the developer built and gave the community the equivalent D1 space at No Cost.

      Developer wins Community Wins !

  14. Why don't FKRL respond to the substance of this article and call a public meeting? I think these issues should be publicly aired and thrashed out rather than lots of anonymous comments (myself included!)

    1. Well Said.

      Although in Brent now Public Consultations are now just tick box exercises.

      So little point as it seems FKRL have done the deal behind everyone's backs.

    2. Public consultations have long been a tick-box exercise, in all local authorities. While empathising with you, Anon at 21.56, don't give up. People are wising up. Perhaps a local residents' group could call a public meeting? That's probably a better option than FKRL which has shown a risible unwillingness to engage with its critics - probably because, as you say, it seems to have done a deal behind its supporters' backs.

      And here, I'd like to thank Martin Francis for his indefatigability in hosting these public blogs - and those posting comments, too, of course. No amount of technology at Brent's Civic Centre can match these democratic forums (fora?) he hosts - wake up, councillors, Westminster-heading, or not. Wembley Matters is miles better (sorry, Glasgow) than anything you can do. Democrats across the borough are indebted to Martin, to whom a big and heartfelt thanks.

  15. Agree completely, at 21.07. It's not private meetings at FKRL members' homes that are needed. Even Paula Gomez' response above is par for FKRL/supporters' sneering sarcastic course aimed at those who dare think for themselves/have a different point of view. Meantime, FKRL has resolutely refused to state its position on deferring the planning application hearing until the CID has reported - just like Brent's councillors. Peas in a pod.

    1. You can always tell when an organization is at the mercy of the hand that might feed them, THEY ARE SILENCED.

      FKRL spoke out about libraries for years and we all admired them.

      Come election time and they are a problem for the current administration, until they are silenced.

      FKRL have not been listening to the community and this whole episode speaks volumes of what goes on in Brent with critiques silenced or else.

      Sadly no sympathy for FKRL if they do not speak up, they have lost our admiration and support.

  16. This whole sob story from FKRL that building will simply vanish if they do not do the deal is totally irrational.

    Suspending the planning application surely will not cause the building to disappear and the current deal to disappear.

    Unless of course pressure is being applied to FKRL from above, to accept the deal.

    So far there seems huge pressure on FKRL to accept the deal, as they have defied all calls to speak up about suspending planning application, pending outcome of fraud investigation.

    1. Well-said. See Meg Howarth's post on Gaynor Lloyd's guest-blog http://wembleymatters.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/blunt-speaking-in-favour-of-friends-of.html …

    2. So far objections to planning application seem to be running at about 75% people object.

      So can't see how FKRL claim community is now in favour when lodged objections so far outnumber support.

    3. Demolition notice could go in tomorrow and building could be knocked down next week....


    4. Objectors seem to be coming in from the same address and in one case are neighbours....

      If I can see that so can Brent, so I would say you are looking more like a split decision...

      And now Jodi says she will go for it if its social housing.....

      Seems that the main problems here are people don't like property developers and feel we own the building..Sour grapes!


    5. We're all neighbours bro

  17. Every Library application will be approved sooner or later.

    Fact Library Transformation Project reprovided the service.

    Brent has some of the best Libraries in the country.

    Its a great success story.

  18. Is Margaret Bailey a Labour supporter? It would explain a lot.

  19. Dear Ms Gomez (16 April, 19.11)

    I am Anonymous who asked a simple question about FKRL's accounts at 14.36, above. Comments had already been made about its finances, so I was hoping FKRL would take the opportunity to answer a simple legitimate question. I was trying to be conciliatory, agreeing with the previous poster at 12.53. A pity, therefore, that you accuse me of 'trying to discredit a hard-working group'. Sneering at those with whom it disagrees is clearly FKRL's default position as has been demonstrated across these recent blogs. This is probably why most commentators, including myself, choose to post anonymously. Not because we've anything to hide but because we've seen the nasty personal attacks - FKRL's failure to understand that such a stance can only fuel dissatisfaction is doing it no favours. I am sure there's a simple explanation for FKRL's figures but a private meeting isn't the place for such clarification - if I spotted in seconds what appears like a discrepancy, others will have to.

    Until someone posted the list of Trustees above, I had no idea you were FKRL's treasurer.

    1. Fully agree.

      Many of us feel so ashamed to now be associated with this mess and are being attacked simply because what seems obvious is a deal has been done to save face in this ward.

      Where is Margaret Bailey ?

      Silenced speaks volumes.

    2. Seems pretty clear there is not a hope of running a community library here.

      Even if the building was given for free tomorrow

      We could not afford to run it for a month.

      Complete Pie Dream and total waste of all our efforts we have been lead up the garden path

      We havent the money

  20. Could Kensal Rise Residents Assoc call a public meeting? Or the Kensal Triangle Residents Association? It would be good if FKRL could attend, we need to discuss this propsal calmly with all the facts as I for one am still undecided about whether the deal on the table is a good one.

    1. Little point now.

      We no what the outcome of any public meeting will be.

      Something along the lines : Support the application or else Gillick will run away and not agree to a library.

    2. Jodi & Co how are you planning to protect the asset for the community if the application is turned down? Any specific actions?

    3. More like we haven't the expertise nor the money

      It is all dawning one me!

      4 years wasted supporting a campaign when we have not the capabilities to run a local library.