Brent Council call in police over Kensal Rise Library fraud claims
PUBLISHED: 12:18 05 November 2013 | UPDATED: 12:24 05 November 2013
Council chiefs have called in the police over claims that emails supporting plans to develop an axed library branch were faked.
"The council compiled a report after their own investigation and we have handed this over to police.
Abuse of Brent’s planning system will not be tolerated.
The action has been taken after an investigation by Brent Council into the allegations surrounding Kensal Rise Library concluded the case should be referred to detectives.
The council’s IT officers scrutinised the emails including IP addresses which are exclusive to each computer.
Cllr Roxanne Mashari, Brent Council’s lead member for environment and neighbourhoods, is responsible for libraries.
She said: “The council compiled a report after their own investigation and we have handed this over to police.
“Abuse of Brent’s planning system will not be tolerated.
“This has now escalated into a police matter and we await the outcome of the police investigation.”
In September, a council report added strength to claims by campaigners Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL) that false statements were made against its fight to retain the Bathurst Road building for community use.
The report stated that when email notifications were sent to everyone who made a statement about the plans on the council’s website 78 were returned as being undelivered with 70 of those belonged to ‘supporters’.
Andrew Gillick, the director of Platinum Revolver Limited which took over the building from owners All Soul’s College in Oxford, hit back with claims that false objections against the application had also been posted on the council’s website.
He had applied for permission to convert the site into six flats, a cottage and a community hub but it was rejected by the council.
Margaret Bailey, chair of FKRL, said: “We applaud the action of our council and it’s willingness to take seriously this attempt to subvert local democracy and mislead the public.
“Our community is strongly against this development for the library building and these fraudulent emails of support for the development were an attempt to divide and denigrate this community.
“Fraud is illegal and we support a thorough investigation by the police.”
Cllr Mashari added: “We must keep our eyes on the end result of securing a community library at Kensal Rise.
“I am ready to work with the community and any stakeholder to ensure that this happens and that it is viable and sustainable.”
Kensal Rise Library was closed alongside Neasden, Tokyngton, Cricklewood, Preston and Barham branches by Brent Council in October 2011 to save £1million.