September 17 2014 Latest news:
Myron Jobson, Reporter
Friday, January 31, 2014
The owners of the closed Kensal Rise library have pointed the finger at Town Hall bosses for the demolition of the pop up Kensal rise library earlier today.
All Souls College, Oxford, which handed the management of the now defunct library on Bathurst Road to Andrew Gillick, the director of Platinum Revolver Limited, claims council chiefs ordered the destruction the beloved makeshift library.
In a letter seen by the Times, a planning enforcement officer threatened action after stating the build of the pop up library was in breach of planning control.
“I am of the opinion that this is unacceptable and it is my intention that enforcement action should be taken to remedy this breach of planning control,” the letter read.
A spokesperson for the college said: “The council asked us to do this a long time ago but we didn’t in the interest of the community.
“We waited till the last possible moment until we were legally obligated to vacate the property.”
The college has receive fierce criticism following reports that books were thrown onto the pavement without any protection from the rain
The vast majority of books belonging to the pop up library were put into containers and placed under tarpaulins alongside the other books belonging to the pop up library, according to the spokesperson.
The College claims it offered members of the Friends of Kensal Rise Libraries the opportunity to operate their proposed library if plans are given the green light –but was rejected.
“We are looking to work with the community not against it,” he said
“It [proposals] is all part of longer plans to achieve a high quality library.”
Margaret Bailey, chair of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library claims they hadn’t rejected the college’s offer and said that the negotiations were still ongoing.
She continued:” We have been working with Councillor Mashari to confirm that we would be the tenants of the proposed library but the developer wouldn’t let us see the plans.”
“We can’t support the plans without seeing it. That would be irresponsible.”
Cllr Roxanne Mashari, Lead Member for Environment and Neighbourhoods, said the council did not order the removal of the Kensal Rise Pop-up Library.
“In June of 2013, the council received a complaint by the agent of the new owner which we were duty bound to investigate. We did not, however, take any enforcement action,” she added.
“The actions of All Soul’s College in dismantling the Pop-up Library are clearly not conducive to finding an agreement with the local community, but I met with local campaigners earlier today and remain determined to work with them to establish a community library within the building.
“The council has offered to store the books in a dry place.”