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Irregularity complaint made against Willesden Green Library redevelopment plans

PUBLISHED: 08:00 09 March 2013

Library campaigners outside Brent Town Hall

Library campaigners outside Brent Town Hall

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Historian claims councillors were not made of all the facts before they voted through scheme

Concerns have been raised over redeveloping Willesden Green Library after a complaint was made to the council claiming an “irregularity” in the plans.

Historian Philip Grant said that councillors on the planning committee, which approved the scheme last month, were not made aware of all the facts before voting.

In a letter to the council’s director of legal procurement, Mr Grant says that officers who prepared the report should have declared an interest due to them working with council officer Andy Donald, who was involved with the project.

Mr Grant, who claims the council has breached the planning code of practice, said it was clear there were parts of the report which were not impartial and that declaring an interest would have offered greater transparency.

Code of practice

Brent’s planning code of practice ‘‘seeks to ensure that officers and members consider and decide planning matters in an open and transparent manner’’.

He said: “The committee needs to at least review its decision to grant consent to this application. They were not aware of all of the relevant facts.

‘The code is meant to ensure that planning decisions are not only made fairly, but that they are seen to be made fairly, and that has not happened here.”

The scheme will see Willesden Green Library knocked down and turned into a “cultural centre.” In its place would also be 95 new flats.

Following the council’s decision to grant consent it is now up to Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, to rubber stamp the plans.

A Brent Council spokesman said: “Any complaint made to the chief executive or borough solicitor by a resident of the borough will be looked at and considered seriously and dealt with following the proper processes.”

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