Brent Council rejects controversial plans to convert Barham Library into art studios

Barham Library is in Harrow Road

Barham Library is in Harrow Road - Credit: Archant

Controversial proposals to convert an axed library branch into art studios were rejected by Brent Council yesterday.

Campaigners outside the old Barham Library (Pic credit: Jan Nevill)

Campaigners outside the old Barham Library (Pic credit: Jan Nevill) - Credit: Archant

The unpopular plans for Barham Library only received one supporting vote by Cllr Ketan Sheth as opposed to six votes against.

Kensal Rise Library in Bathurst Gardens

Kensal Rise Library in Bathurst Gardens - Credit: Archant

Phil Grant from Wembley History Society and Alton Bell from youth and community organisation Pivot Point were among those that spoke against the planning application at the committee meeting.

Residents who unsuccessfully fought to save the branch formed the Friends of Barham Library (FoBL) and were calling for the site to be given back to the community.

Cllr Paul Lorber, FoBL member and leader of Brent Liberal Democrats, said: “We are now keen to build on the planning committee decision and make the case of bringing back into use the Barham buildings for the benefit of the whole community.”

On Saturday FoBL staged a protest outside the branch while planning officers visited the site.

Francis Henry, 49, from Daniels Estate Agents and FoBL member, said: “I am delighted that common sense has prevailed and I must thank the Brent & Kilburn Times for their hard work.”

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The library was closed alongside Cricklewood, Neasden, Preston, Kensal Rise and Tokyngton branches by Brent Council in 2011 in a bid to save £1million.

FoBL run two community libraries in Wembley High Road and at Sudbury Town tube station.

In September, Brent Council rejected plans to convert Kensal Rise Library in Bathurst Gardens, into six flats, a cottage and a community space.

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