Kensal Rise Library holds an open day for the community
- Credit: Archant
Residents, campaigners and politicians gathered in Kensal Rise to greet a new chapter for their community library.
The doors to Kensal Rise Library, in Bathurst Gardens, were opened to the public for the first time in nearly five years, allowing residents to see the space, currently an empty shell, which will next year re-open as a reading room run by volunteers next year.
The event marked a fresh start after years of campaigning that have made the much loved local library a rallying point in the national fight against library cuts
Cllr Mohammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, welcomed the development while MPs Dawn Butler and Tulip Siddiq joined the celebrations, along with several councillors including Cllr James Denselow, lead member for libraries.
Local actors, writers and publishers took part in the open day, which attracted hundreds of visitors.
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The new owners of the building, Uplift Property, outlined their plans for the site, which will involve conversion into five residential units, but with the majority of the ground floor reserved for a library and community space, rent-free in perpetuity. They plan to complete work within 12 months.
David Butcher, from campaign group Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL), greeted the occasion as a turning point in the story of the library.
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He said: “This marks the end of a hard, five-year battle. Now the campaigning can wind down and we can start on the creative phase - building a new library to serve the whole community again.”
Kensal Rise Library was one of six libraries closed by Brent Council in 2011.
The branch was closed alongside Barham, Cricklewood, Preston, Neasden, and Tokyngton to save £1million a year.