Saturday, 17 September 2016

Butt welcomes input from Preston on Community Library Strategy

Titus Bear from Barham Community Library visits Preston Library

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, has copied me into his response to Philip Bromberg of Preston Community Library who requested consultation over the development of a Community Library Strategy LINK:


Many thanks for attending the cabinet meeting and for your contribution along side the other contributions.

I sincerely do want a positive outcome for all and hence the suggestion from myself for a   Community library strategy that doesn't just cover the PCL but any other community library including the good work being done with Kensal and Cricklewood.

There will need to be a concerted effort from all areas especially from the library service and from property as well.

It would be good to have some input from yourself as we move this forward in formulating this policy. Let me and Michael start the discussion with our officers and WWE will get together soon.

Libraries are under the remit of Cllr Pavey with Phil Porter as the Strategic Director and property is under my remit with Althea Loderick as the Strategic Director for Resources, we will need to work together closely to make sure that we get the best outcomes in making sure that organisations that work with us and deliver services such as PCL are recognised.

Philip please don't hesitate to pick the phone up or contact me if you want to discuss things.

Kind Regards

Cllr Muhammed Butt
Leader of Brent Council

Meanwhile the papers for tomorrow's  Full Meeting of the Council contains this question from Cllr Reg Colwill (Leader of the Kenton Conservative Group) and Cllr Michael Pavey's, Lead Member for Stronger Communities and Libraries, reply:

7. Question to the Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities from Councillor Reg Colwill, Kenton

The residents of the Preston Ward have done a fantastic job in keeping the library active and working to make sure that all the residents have access to books in a very professional manner.

Will the Council now honour what they told the residents that is that they would give them the library to continue their good work?

If yes, the Committee running the library would like to know when.
Preston Community Library have done an absolutely superb job in keeping a library running in extremely difficult circumstances. They have delivered a truly inclusive range of exceptional activities and have brought the whole community together. 
I would make the small point that although many of the Library volunteers are indeed Preston residents, many others live in Barnhill and surrounding wards - they all deserve immense credit.
We plan to redevelop the Preston Library building to provide new housing, however these plans will also incorporate high quality new community space. Cabinet felt that the published report paving the way for this redevelopment did not sufficiently recognise the excellent work of the Preston Community Library, nor did it do enough to pledge ongoing support for that library. 
Consequently Cabinet committed to take three months to work with Preston Community Library, as well as the community libraries in Cricklewood, Kensal Rise and Barham Park, to develop a new Community Library Strategy over and above which the Council has a duty to provide. In addition to broader issues, this strategy will directly address access to the new Preston Library building.
Cabinet has also stated a very clear preference that both the tender process and the rental level for the new community space at the redeveloped building should be clearly weighted towards social value, rather than financial value. 
All four Brent community libraries are extremely important partners of the Brent Library Service. We are grateful for their excellent work and look forward to working with them to develop an exciting new strategy to assist in securing the long term future of each library.


  1. Regular readers of Wembley Matters will know that I am often critical of Cllr. Butt, but I am pleased to welcome the positive attitude shown here in his email to Philip Bromberg above.

    One thing I notice, however, is that his second paragraph does not mention the fourth Brent community library at Barham Park. I wonder why?

    Philip (G).

  2. This is no time for cynicism, Philip. Cllr Butt's letter exudes sincerity. In fact it's positively dripping with it.
    By the way, have you noticed the similarity in appearance between the new May Mouthpiece for Education, Justine Greening, and a certain over-remunerated canine-fancying workplace bully with Brent connections? Could they be, by chance, related d'you think?
    Mike Hine

    1. It's good to have you back, holding me to account, Mike, but I prefer to judge people by their actions, rather than their appearance.

      The grammar school policy that May is insisting she should front is enough of a burden for Justine to bear, without being branded a CD look-alike!