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Council agree to work with campaigners in Kensal Rise Library battle

PUBLISHED: 12:59 22 May 2013 | UPDATED: 12:59 22 May 2013

Members of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library Campaign held a public meeting last night

Members of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library Campaign held a public meeting last night

Copyright: Mr. Jan Nevill

Public meeting held last night discussed ways forward for the campaign

Campaigners fighting to save Kensal Rise Library are hopeful of the start of a new chapter in their efforts to retain the building after gaining support from Brent Council.

Members of Save Kensal Rise (SKR) campaign held a public meeting last night (Tues) where they discussed an update on the campaign and ways to move forward.

They were joined by leader of the council Cllr Muhammed Butt and the newly elected executive member responsible for libraries Cllr Roxanne Mashari at the meeting in St Martin’s Church in Mortimer Road.

During the meeting the council conceded they had made mistakes in their previous running of the libraries but insisted they were keen to work with the community going forward.

Margaret Bailey, director of the Friends of Kensal Rise, told the Times: “There was a feeling that they regretted what happened previously and want to build a relationship which we are grateful for.

“We looked through a number of options about what can be done and it was agreed that they would speak to the developers on our behalf.”

Kensal Rise Library was one of six shut down by the council in October 2011.

The building, in Bathurst Gardens, was returned to original land owners, All Souls College in Oxford, following a lengthy dispute between the council, campaigners and the college.

However, officials at the college now claim they have a binding agreement to sell the building to a property developer offering a space for a library on the ground floor. But campaigners claim the space is insufficient and are hoping the development will be stalled.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council said: “It was great to have the opportunity to talk to the community last night. Our new Lead Member Cllr Roxanne Mashari made it clear that community engagement will be at the heart of her approach and that we will work hand-in-hand with the campaigners to achieve a better result for our community.

“I look forward to many more productive meetings in the coming weeks and months.”

Cllr Mashari took over as lead member for environment and neighbourhoods after ousting Cllr James Powney at the council’s annual general meeting earlier this month.

Ms Bailey added: “There was an overwhelming sense that the building still has real community value for all of us and that we need a much bigger space. We are pleased the council has agreed to engage with us and hope we can move forward together.”

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