Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Kensal Rise Library planning application approved with new conditions

Brent Planning Committe tonight unanimously approved the planning application for Kensal Rise Library submitted by Andrew Gillick. The Committee attached new conditions to the application with an amendment on the marketing of the D1 space. Cllr Shafique Choudhary and Cllr Dan Filson declared that they had made previous statements  of opinion about the application and withdrew from the meeting.

Cllr Sarah Marquis, chair, in a statement said that on further legal advice, as requested by the commitee's previous meeting, that they would not take the ongoing police investigation into fraudulent emails into account.

A supplementary report by officers, tabled at the meeting, made several key points:

1. The Heads of Terms would be changed so that instead of saying that if the marketing campaign failed to prduce an occupier of the Kensal Rise Library D1 space Brent Council would be given first refusal, after 'internal discussion' this would now give CVS Brent first refusal to prepare a bid for the space.
2. The naming of Friends of Kensal Rise Library as the 'actual' tenant rather than 'preferred' tenant 'is not an issue the committee should purport to determine as part of the planning process.'
3. The applicant will provide the D1 space as a plastered shell with the main services capped off plus an earmarked sum of £3,000 for the teant to fit out the space.
4. A member of the public had asked that committee members be made aware of the Option Agreement to purchase Kensal Rise Library made between All Souls Collge and the developer when considering the current planning application.

Jodi Gramigni made a representation pointing the the importance of the Asset of Community Value status of the Kensal Rise building. She said that the commitee should take this into account as a material consideration  and called on Brent Council to exercise the political will to make this status mean something.

Stephanie Schonfield for Friends of Kensal Rise Library disputed the supllementary officer's report's comment on the naming of FKRL as 'actual tenant' and said FKRL were 'thrilled and relieved' at the agreement and loked forward to occupying the space and endsing four years of campaigning.

Councillors questions mainly centred around detailed issues arising from their site visit. The Committe eventually voted for a number of conditions including widening the chimney breast entrance space to admit buggies and wheelchairs, increased parking space for cycles, and waste storage space to be provided on the ground floor rather than the basement thus reducing the need to use the list and thus reducing the £2,500 service charge.

Steve Weeks of the Planning Department suggested that due to the 'actual' tenant agreement and the giving of CSV first refusal if marketing failed, that the requirement to market the space could be reduced to a fall-back if agreement was not reached on the initial occupier.

No refence was made during the meeting to the Option Agreement, although it may have been discussed at the pre-meeting.

The meeting was subdued with no triumphalism apparent, and several of the people involved on either aside of the battle made concilatory comments to each other after the meeting.

It appears that after a bruising controversey the community will now try and make the best of what some regard as a not very good deal, and others the best deal available in the circumstance.

Meanwhile the outcome of the police investigation into fraudulent emails is still awaited...


Anonymous said...

So, leaving aside all the other issues, Gillick can still subvert a consultation procedure and 'borrow' identities for bullshit emails (allegedly) and still be considered a fit and proper person to do business with your elected representatives in matters of planning your environment and its amenities. And they wonder how Jimmy Savile got away with it!

Anonymous said...

Despite the number of comments on this blog, not one of you went to that meeting to support Jodi.
Respect to her for sticking to what she believed was right but pretty shameful that all that comment could not translate into actual physical support.

Anonymous said...

Sadly there was little point in turning up.

If it is true decisions were made at pre planning meet then it just goes to show how pathetic democracy has become and why few people bother to turn up.

The fight can continue but in other ways as it would seem FKRL have been rewarded for their loyalty to both Brent Labour and developer rather than standing up for social justice.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps people didn't know Jodi was speaking? Hope you spoke up to defend her when she was being slagged off on previous blogs - or perhaps you're one and the same? If neither, then do keep your moral high ground to yourself. I understand that not many people turned up at the June meeting to support the application, despite some 500 (I recall) letters of support. I've no idea how many attended last night.

Anonymous said...

Yes I have been rather supportive of Jodi.

I think it is rather offensive a representative of FKRL is attacking those who disagree with FKRL decisions.

Anonymous said...

It should be pointed out to FKRL the community were divided on the decisions recently taken by FKRL.

Surely open, transparent and democratic debate is healthy for society without trying to cut others down who have different opinions to the leaders of FKRL?

Anonymous said...

Pathetic excuses.
No one wants to stifle debate at all.
The fact remains that for all your talk you let her go to that meeting alone.
That is not 'moral high ground'.
Just an observation on your lack of support for someone you purport to support.

Meg Howarth said...

Disappointed that the Option Agreement wasn't discussed in the chamber last night. I had booked to speak regarding its relevance to the current application but withdrew yesterday when I realised I'd be unable to attend the meeting. I asked that my statement be put to the committee.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I wonder if FKRL are standing by their BLOCK CAPITALS STATEMENT yesterday accusing Jodi and Meg of having written all the comments on the previous blog?

Anonymous said...

It just demonstrates decisions were made to save Brent Labour skin when they created the mess in the first instance by approving planning permission

Anonymous said...


There are many more people than just Jodi and Meg who are totally enraged by FKRL behaviour and recent decisions.

The community does not 100% support FKRL and without community support FKRL have not a hope in keeping volunteers opening the doors.

I guess it was all about a few at the top throwing their weight around rather than listening to those below who have been very sceptical since FKRL announced they wanted to proceed regardless of a fraud investigation.

Anonymous said...

Sure that 'block capitals statement' is FKRL are you?

All those 'totally enraged' people but not one supported Jodi at planning.

Anonymous said...

Link to request Secretary of State to call in planning approval for Kensal Rise library

The more people who set out their case the more the Secretary of State might agree to call it in.

The issue with lost of D1 is very relevant as it goes against recent National policy.

The issue with alleged fraud has to be considered by the Secretary of State as a Local Authority failure and should be investigated not simply swept under the carpet. Given the fact that allegations have surfaced in other Boroughs this could be a much wider issues.

ACV issue, which I think calls into question the whole legislation surrounding ACV and is something the Secretary of State needs to thoroughly review, as it would seem in practice Brent are taking ACV listing with a pinch of salt.

Anyway the more people complain to the Secretary of State the better. It is a better way forward than trying to argue the toss with Brent and FKRL as they obviously wanted to put Kensal Rise to bed.

I hope this gives everyone something to cheer about.

Anonymous said...

Forgot link

Anonymous said...

If you read my post below, anyone if they wish can submit a request to Secretary of State to call in planning decision.

Until the Please stop picking on Jodi as it is totally disrespectful to those who hold different views to FKRL.

So rather than keep accusing people, just sit tight and let those who think the Secretary of State should call in the planning decision have the opportunity to submit. If Secretary of State does not wish to intervene that I am afraid will be the end of the matter with developer and FKRL getting what they want rather than the community getting what they need. Community needs 100% of building.

Anonymous said...

According to a number of planning lawyers ACV is a material consideration and Brent have totally failed on this account.

Anonymous said...

ACV listing and moratorium

Where the sale of an asset has been announced but not yet concluded, it is still possible for a group to seek to list it. This circumstance may arise if a much-used local asset is suddently put up for sale. If a sale is agreed before the asset appears on the list, there would be no opportunity for a group to put in a bid; but if the asset is listed before a sale is agreed, the moratorium provisions apply.

Further details should have been included in Brent officers report to clarify the specifics and needs to be investigated by Secretary of State

Anonymous said...

ACV further details from regulations

If an owner disposes land on the assets list in contravention to the requirements of the scheme, the Act provides that the land transaction is invalid in law.

Anonymous said...

A very good reason for a full review, as it seems Brent have slipped up on ACV.

Jodi Gramigni said...

In addition to the excellent overview by Martin, it is worth noting that the planners and the developers agent both advised that the new status for FKRL (from 'preferred' to 'actual' tenant) has been made VERBALLY only. Therefore, the developer still does not have any legally binding requirement to reinstate a library, or agree a lease with FKRL. As a community we must stay vigilant to this fact, and ensure the developer follows through on his promise.

In regard to ACV, Brent officers and lawyers have continuously made it clear that they believe ACV holds no relevance to the planning process. They confirmed this position last night by stating that, “ACV is separate legislation and is not under the consideration of this committee”. This is factually incorrect. ACV can be a material consideration for the committee. It is the committee’s choice to consider or disregard it.

Please help make ACV a material planning consideration in Brent by pressuring your councillor to act now. Our elected representatives need to ensure Brent ACV assets have at least as much, if not more, protection than is proposed in the DMP for all community spaces - regardless of officers resistance to do so. Suffice to say, if these protections were in place, Kensal Rise Library would almost certainly have remained remained 100% community space.

The Queensbury, Brent's only other ACV listed asset, is also under immediate threat. Find out more: Twitter: @QueensburySOS

Draft DMP: Refer to Section 10, Social Infrastructure, P87

Councillor details:

Also, if you haven’t done so, please sign the ACV Petition:

Like many of you, I am personally devastated by the loss of our historic library, and angry at the political landscape that allowed this to occur. But, truth be told, I am also dismayed by the hateful and personal attacks made anonymously on this blog against those that they disagree with. It is illogical to me that anyone can work to save a community institution, and attack members of that same community - simultaneously.

There is still so much work to do to reestablish a library, and as a community we need to stay focused on the effort to make this happen. After all, it is pointless to achieve a community library if the community itself has been destroyed in the process. Onward ho!

Martin Francis said...

I am closing comments on this subject after the full airing it has had on Wembley Matters.

However, I will consider any Guest blogs submitted in people's actual names which raise new issues.

Martin Francis