A London library is set for a £765k refurbishment after cracks have formed in the structure of the building. 

Concerns have been raised that structural issues may result in people being injured by falling debris at Kilburn Library.

Both the building and garden in Salusbury Road, Brent, have been described by Brent Council’s corporate director of resident services as “in a poor state”. Any further wear and tear to the building will cause it to become “increasingly unsafe and costly”.

There are large cracks forming in the structure of the building. A council report on the state of the library says: “If the library service doesn’t act now […] then the long-term future of Kilburn Library may be jeopardised.”

It adds: “The building itself may need partial closure if structural problems are not addressed quickly. If no investment is put into the current facilities the condition will decline further.”

The project will also look to create new spaces that can be hired out to generate new income, as well as investing money to make more of the library’s “underutilised” garden. It is said to have “huge potential” and can offer space to residents who don’t have their own garden. 

Temporary facilities will be needed if the redevelopment goes ahead, therefore, the council are currently in negotiations with The Granville, which provides community space in South Kilburn, about relocating there in the short term.

It is expected to cost £765k to complete the project, although making estimates in the current financial climate are described as “difficult”. The library has been awarded a £231k grant from Arts Council England’s (ACE) ‘Library Improvement Fund’, leaving a further £534,000 outstanding to complete the work.

The ACE funding is designed to support library services in England by helping them upgrade their buildings. Harlesden Library is near completion having previously received some of the grant money.

South Kilburn is in the highest 20 per cent for deprivation in England and local spaces are limited. This part of the borough has been identified as a priority for investment and regeneration.

Kilburn Library was awarded the funding in February 2023 during the second round of ACE allocation. If the plan gets the green light, works are expected to start in November of this year, with a soft launch reopening date of April 2024.

Brent Council’s corporate director of resident services says: “The project will futureproof the library facilities for an estimated further ten years and enable more flexible use. It will alleviate some of the pressures of cyclical maintenance required to maintain its current condition.”