Tuesday 22 October 2019

Kicking the 'Culture' out of the London Borough of Culture 2020 - Delipod Hub to close as charges renegotiation fails

 When Brent Council decided to demolish the 1980s Willesden Green Library and sell the car park to a private developer  they renamed its sucessor a 'Library and  Cultural Centre.' In the course of the redevelopment they closed the cinema and denied any space to the well-loved and well-used Willesden Bookshop. The bookshop could not afford the high rent and overheads that would have been demanded by Brent Council even if an adequate space had been made available. The cultural offer was limited by a closure time of 8pm and a demand that any event going on after that time should pay an additional sum for security.

Now the Delipod Hub cafe, on the ground floor of the building, which has been attracting a local following, especially for its Friday night music sessions, has thrown in the towel in after a valiant attempt to keep going.

This is their announcement:
 "With huge regret, next Friday will be our last live music event after which Delipod Hub will be closing, the last day of trading will be Saturday 26th Oct. After rates (which came in much higher than anticipated), rent and service charge there’s not much left and after over a year of trying to renegotiate them, we’ve been unsuccessful. We’d love to go out with a BANG so please come and celebrate our last evening of live music with the fabulous RumBand. Thank you for your custom and support, over the period we’ve been open.
Peter (Billy) & Serena"


Anonymous said...

Real shame to see the Delipod close. However, the cinema closed well before (not during) the course of the redevelopment and the new library offers a museum, archives, art gallery and performance space which is undoubtedly more 'cultural' than the previous incarnation.

Martin Francis said...

Point taken. The old library was neglected and run down with poor management, marketing and maintenance before redevelopmen. We must hope that the new library avoids that fate.

Philip Grant said...

I don't live in Willesden Green, but I do use the Archives on a regular basis, and enjoy seeing the Museum and various exhibitions at the Library there. I also took an active part in the 2012/13 campaign to save the remaining part of the Victorian library building, which is such an important part of Willesden Green's character and "sense of place".

When Brent's Executive (Cabinet) voted to redevelop the 1980's Library Centre in 2012, they promised to replace it with a new Cultural Centre to serve the south of the borough.

As part of the consultations, both before the plans were approved and when the new building was being made ready for opening, I made the following suggestion. The shell of the original 1894 library building was being converted to an events room, called the "Reading Room". This is by the new Library's entrance, and looks out onto the High Road.

My suggestion was that on one evening each week, from 6-8pm, the Reading Room would be made available, free of charge, to any local person or group who wished to put on an event of any sort, within reason, that residents could come and enjoy, free of charge.

This could be a musical or dance performance, talk, film, fashion show, poetry reading, book launch - a whole variety of possibilities for local people, by local people. It would encourage Brent residents to make more use of the Library, and the other attractions it had to offer, including the cafe, and help the building to be the cultural hub for the south of the borough which the Council had promised.

I believe that my suggestion was supported by members of a local "consultative panel" for the new building, but nothing was done to implement the idea.

If the Council does want to make The Library at Willesden Green a vibrant cultural centre for the people of Brent, that idea is still "on offer".