Almost 6,000 people join the fight to save Willesden Green Library

Thousands sign petition against plans to demolish 19th century building

Nearly 6,000 people have signed petitions to save Willesden Green Library Centre from demolition.

In a remarkable demonstration of community action, hundreds of people rallied outside the library in High Road, Willesden, on Saturday, to stop Brent Council from knocking down.

Residents joined hands and formed a human chain around the old library building which was built in 1894.

The demonstration coincided with an exhibition showing the new plans.

Barely a month after its formation, new community group, Keep Willesden Green gathered a staggering 5,712 signatures in just one day.

The petition has now been handed into Brent Town Hall and because there are more than 5,000 signatures, it will trigger a full council call-in to debate the issue.

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Campaigner Helen Marcus said: “It is a huge achievement and shows how much council has failed to recognise the feelings and values of the people of Willesden.”

Kate Spence, who helped to form Keep Willesden Green, said: “The local response to the demolition of the old library has been clear. It is our only hope of being heard by our council.

“Locals believe strongly that the old library should be kept. It is a landmark building and a monument to the determination of the people of 1894 who raised the funds to build the library out of terrible poverty.

“Willesden residents think these historic values should continue to influence the character of the area. The old library should be restored and put to a suitable use as part of the old library centre.”

Residents believe there has been a lack of consultation over the plans to knock down the library centre and the old library.

The demolition will also mean closure of The Willesden Bookshop. But the council has said it will bring the library into the 21st Century and wants to hand the land over to developer Galliford Try, which will build the new library at no cost to the council as well as flats to sell.

The work is expected the start in September and finish in spring 2014.

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