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Award-winning architects’ firm lend their support to library campaigners

12:00 01 June 2013

Members of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library

Members of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library

Archant

Shepheard Epstein and Hunter pledge to help Friends of Kensal Rise Library

An award-winning architects’ firm which specialises in education centres and libraries has pledged to help residents in Kensal Rise battle plans to turn their former home into flats.

Shepheard Epstein and Hunter (SEH) have accepted an invitation from members of the Friends of Kensal Rise (FOKR), who are hoping to reopen Kensal Rise Library, to help their campaign.

The firm has worked in Hackney and Enfield and with a number of universities to provide better libraries. It has offered its skills and experience to get the best results at the building in Bathurst Gardens.

Kensal Rise Library is one of six shut down by Brent Council in October 2011.

Control of the site has since reverted to original landowners All Souls College, part of the University of Oxford, which plans to turn most of the building into flats with a small space left for a library.

But FOKR is calling for a bigger space to create a “much-needed” community resource and hopes the new partnership will help the group on its way.

SEH has won a number of awards in the last few years for projects such as Enfield Town Library and turning a university building in Leicester into a multiuse community facility.

Steven Pidwill, chairman of the firm, said: “Much of our work is with libraries and places of education and learning, and we know how important these places are as a community resource. We’d like to help find a way forward here which provides similar opportunities”.

Margaret Bailey, chairman of the Kensal Rise campaign, said: “We are indeed very fortunate to have access to such expertise and look forward to working with Shepheard Epstein and Hunter.

“With their expertise in the design of libraries and spaces for the wider community, we will show that the change of use to a residential development plus a small and unsustainable library space falls a long way short of what the community that helped pay for the building deserves.”

Adding that libraries were “close to their heart”, Mr Pidwill continued: “We know what a difference they make to people’s lives.

“We were impressed by the Save Kensal Rise Library campaign and delighted to be invited to advise.”

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