Philip Bromberg from the campaign told the Cabinet that he was not convinced that there was no alternative buildings available (the report lists the former Anansi Nursery as available from July 2016 until July 2018 but states 'this building is no longer required').
He told the Cabinet about all the activities that are available at the Hub, including a cinema, with visitor numbers doubling. He said that the Community library was doing things that the Council had pulled out of and 'doing them very well'. He told the Cabinet that if the Council could not succeed in cooperating with a large and successful group such as the Community Library and Hub, he could not see its strategy succeeding elsewhere.
After an optimistic letter from Cllr Mashari about joint design of the new facility in April little had happened with the promised collaborative approach and now the use by Wembley High was being discussed just 3-4 days before their licence ended, with no direct word to the Library from the Council.
A local film maker told the council about the sucecss of the cinema which had been funded with a £4000 grant from the council and had become a vital part of the local community with all showings at capacity. The grant would be a waste of money if the Library did not continue. He invited councillors and the governors of Wembley High School to visit the Community Hub. Campaigners were keen to establish as positive a relationship with Wembley High as they'd had with Preston Park Primary but this had not happened yet.
Michael Pavey agreed to amend the term 'pop up' used in the report about the library when a speaker said that it was a fully fledged community library with 663 visits in June.
Cllr Margaret McLennan, responding to the delegation, said the Council had always made it clear that the priority needs of the borough were school places and housing. These came ahead of the policy to bring buildings back to life. She substituted a new paragraph for one in the report which would now say that there was no prospect of disposal of the Preston library building until 2017-18 and options would be looked at for commercial or community disposal in August 2017 at the earliest.
To protests from campaigners Cllr Mashari said that she did not appreciate Philip Bromberg's claim that the council had reneged on a deal and had not responded to campaigners. She said that they had made it 'extremely clear' before the election that school places were a priority and the building had never been promised to one particular group. She concluded that the library supported 'fantastic community activities - but don't misquote us'.
Philip Bromberg asked for a right of reply to what he saw as a personal attack but Cllr Pavey refused.
Cllr Ruth Moher, lead member for Children and Families, said that places were needed so that schools had a 5% vacancy rate as required by the government. At present the soare capacity in Brent schools was only 2.3%. She was not expecting things to get any better in the near future but would eventually like to see buildings used as the community desires.
This is a relatively new requirement (I am not sure of its statutory basis) which is claimed to enhance parents' choice but also has the knock-on effect of increased pupil mobility, particularly in less popular schools, making it harder for them to improve.