Preston Library campaigners ‘let down’ by Brent Council
PUBLISHED: 11:04 29 January 2013 | UPDATED: 11:12 29 January 2013
Crusaders claim town hall boss reneges on pledge to help them
Library campaigners in Wembley have said they feel let down by Brent Council and claim they have gone back on their word to help them run a community library.
Members of Preston Library, one of six closed down by Brent Council last year, say they met with council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt several times and claim he had agreed to ask Brent’s library service to let them run a community library allowing them access to Brent’s libraries stock.
The building, in Carlton Avenue East, is currently being used as a bulk class for pupils of Preston Park Primary School and campaigners also hoped to run an after hours homework club from the site.
However, they now say they were told by Town Hall bosses following a meeting, that there are ‘legal and budgetary’ issues and they would not be able to use any Brent Library services or run a homework club using the council’s library service.
Philip Bromberg, a member of Preston Library, said: “We feel very let down by this decision; we were under the impression that officers would be encouraged to help us but instead we have been left with virtually nothing.”
Campaigners also gained the support of Brent North MP, and fellow Labour politician Barry Gardiner.
In a letter, seen by the Times sent by Mr Gardiner to Cllr Butt he says: “I would urge you to ensure that your officers engage positively with the campaigners about their suggestions to enhance the Library service and to honour any commitments which may have previously been made.”
However Cllr Butt denied he had made any commitment to campaigners and told the Times that using the building to solve the school places shortage was their priority.
He added: “I am also really keen to see a community resource centre after school hours, run by the campaigners, in agreement with the school, and have been working with them to achieve this.
“I have talked with the Headmaster of the School, I have offered to give them furniture and a supply of books for a community space, I have written them a letter of support and I have offered my time to help in any way I can.
“I have also encouraged them to use Ward Working to apply for funding for a homework club and community activities. The idea that we have offered nothing is simply not true.”