December 13 2013 Latest news:
Lorraine King, News editor
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
A high number of emails supporting controversial plans to convert an axed library branch into flats may have been faked, a council report has revealed.
The documents, which were published yesterday, has added strength to claims by Friends of Kensal Library that false statements were made against its fight to retain the Bathurst Road building for community use.
In the report, which will be heard by members of the planning committee this evening, it states that email notifications were sent to everyone who made a statement about the plans on the council’s website.
But out of the 78 emails return as being undelivered 70 of those belonged to supporters.
The report states ‘a large proportion of the supporting emails appear to have been fabricated’.
In a further twist, three ‘supporters’ informed the council they had not sent an email backing the plans from their address.
In addition, written letters of support had been received addressed from 95 High Road which is the site of Willesden Library and correspondence addressed from Kensal Rise Library itself.
Campaigners had alleged that statements posted on Brent Council’s website, which supports developer Andrew Gillick of Platinum Revolver Ltd and his planning application to turn the building into homes and a community hub, were not genuine.
Mr Gillick had made counter claims that false objections against the application had also be posted.
Brent Council launched an investigation into both claims last week.
Urging the council to call in the police, Margaret Bailey from FKRL, said: “I now hope the council will investigate from where these fabricated supporting emails for the development of the library building have originated.
“There is technology available to do this and perhaps it is time to call in the expertise of the police. This is fraud.
“Fraud is illegal.”
Cllr Roxanne Mashari, Brent Council’s lead member for environment and neighbourhoods, told the Times the legal department were looking into the claims.
She added: “I have been assured that the planning committee will be fully informed about the falsified comments.”
The planning application which will be heard tonight has been recommended for refusal by Brent Council.