Brent Council accused of allowing Barham Library building to fall into a state of disrepair

Branch was closed alongside five others to save �1million last year

Campaigners hoping to re-occupy their library have slammed Brent Council for allowing the building to fall into a state of disrepair - offloading more than �100,000 worth of costs onto new tenants.

Barham Library in Barham Park, which is a listed building, has been empty since it was shut down alongside five other reading rooms by the local authority last year.

The council is now inviting bids from potential renters, including Friends of Barham Library.

However, a structural survey seen by the Times has revealed the building has a number of issues including cracks in the wall, a leaking roof and potential asbestos. The repairs are estimated to cost around �160,000.

Cllr Paul Lorber, a member of FOBL and the leader of Brent’s Liberal Democrats said the council should take responsibility, adding: “For years the council has used large parts of the building for its own purposes. They should now arrange a comprehensive programme of repairs to the building and not simply wash its hands of the problem by renting off parts of the building to unsuspecting tenants from the voluntary sector”

The Barham Park buildings were donated for the enjoyment of local people by Titus Barham 60 years ago.

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English Heritage, which seeks to protect listed buildings, said they were not currently involved in the case.

However, a spokesman added: “We advise and encourage local authorities to seek the best use for listed buildings, which help protect their historic significance.”

A spokesman for Brent Council said it was standard practice to provide as much information as possible concerning the state of the building so that bidders are aware of the situation.

He added: “It is expected that any bids received will consider the cost of any lease including repairs.”