Brent Council empties library following campaigners failed appeal
PUBLISHED: 14:31 29 December 2011 | UPDATED: 10:40 30 December 2011
Crusaders are held back by police as building stripped bare
Valiant protestors campaigning against the library closures were dealt a post Christmas blow after council staff moved in to empty one of the condemned branches of its contents today (Thursday).
Members of Brent’s SOS libraries team were held back by around seven police officers as they stood outside Preston Library in Carlton Avenue East, Wembley, to allow it to be stripped bare.
Council staff removed boxes with computers in andas of Thursday afternoon, December 29 the library was seemingly devoid of books and facilities.
Last week, campaigners lost a second bid in the Court of Appeal in their attempt to overturn the council’s decision to shut six of Brent’s 12 libraries.
The result followed an unsuccessful hearing in the High Court.
However, campaigners have submitted a third application to the Supreme Court and are adamant that the buildings should not be stripped while legal proceedings are still ongoing.
Samantha Warrington, a mother-of-two and campaigner for Preston Library has been fighting the decision alongside many other protestors.
Speaking to the Times she said: “It’s particularly disappointing because this is an ongoing case.”
“I expect the council would say that this is part of their so called transformation scheme, but we don’t believe anything should be touched until legal proceedings are over.”
The decision to close Neasden, Tokyington, Barham Park, Cricklewood, Kensal Rise and Preston libraries will save the council a total of £1m.
However, Cllr Paul Lorber, leader of the Brent Liberal Democrats labelled the decision ‘ludicrous’ and said that emptying the building just after Christmas was a ‘provocative act’.
He added: “Unfortunately this is typical of a council that doesn’t listen to or consult their residents and it’s clear they have taken advantage of the quiet holiday season.”
But, Cllr James Powney, lead member for environment and neighborhoods, insisted the council were in the right.
He said: “The campaigners attempted to get an injunction and failed so there is no reason why we cannot set about implementing our policy straight away.
“Our decision was upheld by the courts who ruled we acted in a completely lawful way.
“There is no significance to the date and as far as we are concerned this was just one of the libraries that will need to be emptied.”