August 1 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
A one-bedroom flat in the revamped Willesden Library Cultural Centre has gone on sale for £405,000 – putting it out of reach for many Brent residents.
The controversial project last year saw Brent Council give developers Galliford Try the site for free on in exchange for the new cultural centre to replace the old Victorian library in High Road.
The 95 flats have been already been sold by Linden Homes, associated with Galliford Try, to an investor who is marketing the properties in Asia.
The heavy price tag does not include service charges and parking fees.
According to Brent Council the average annual salary for a resident in the borough is £31,000.
Martin Redstone, of the campaign to Keep Willesden Green, said: “We put up an enormous fight.
“We saved the small library at the front, which now looks incongruous.
“We were unable to save the perfectly serviceable 1970s library or Town Square.”
He continued: “In my opinion the council couldn’t care less.
“It just wanted to give 75 per cent of the land – including half the library and the car park – to Galliford Try free of charge, so it could build luxury flats in a gated setting and cash in on the government’s New Homes Bonus and obtain a cheap smaller library centre on what was left of the site.”
A spokesman for Linden Homes confirmed it had sold the site to an investor, “therefore any prices you may have come across aren’t from Linden Homes”.
In 2013, before a single brick had been laid the development was being advertised on a Singaporean website which was asking the equivalent of £340,000 for a one-bed flat.
As well as listing transport links as a key benefit it added the absence of “affordable and key worker” housing as an advantage.
Cllr George Crane, who was the lead member for regeneration when the proposals went through, said at the time that the plans will allow council to create a new ‘flagship cultural hub.
He had added: “There is a huge amount of wasted space around it and regarding the building itself, the actual fabric needs a lot of money spent on it.
“We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.”