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Brent Council's plans for Willesden Green Library breached Greater London Authority's (GLA's) heritage policy

PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 August 2012

The old Willesden Green Library building

The old Willesden Green Library building

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Proposals for Victorian building were scrapped and sent back to the drawing board

Council chiefs have been slammed after it emerged that a controversial planning application to tear down a Victorian building in Willesden did not meet approval from “top tier officials”.

Plans for the Willesden Green Cultural Centre, in High Road Willesden, did not comply with the Greater London Authority’s (GLA’s) heritage policy, according to campaign group Keep Willesden Green.

The plans, by Brent Council and developers Galliford Try, which was later withdrawn, would have seen Willesden Green Library Centre demolished and rebuilt.

The old library building, which has stood on the site since 1894, would have also been demolished and 92 flats built on the site. The GLA is a strategic authority in London, with powers over transport, policing, and planning.

A spokesman for Brent Council admitted that the GLA had “requested clarification” on some aspects of the proposed design.

According to the GLA’s planning guide any application should “demonstrate commitment to achieving high quality inclusive design” and the “outcome should be places which are accessible and welcoming to everyone”.

Martin Redston, speaking on behalf of the Keep Willesden Group, said: “You can’t just go and knock down a heritage building. Brent Council and Galliford Try need to properly address the situation and seek the correct advice.”

Martin Francis, a supporter of the Keep Willesden Green Group said: “Thousands of local residents, the Victorian Society, and even Private Eye magazine have now been joined by the London Mayor’s planners at the GLA in opposing the plans for Willesden Green redevelopment.”

A spokesman for Brent Council added: “We are revisiting the design and hope to resubmit the planning application later this year.

“We are entering a new phase of consultation now where we want to develop our understanding of what activities could take place in the building. Stakeholders will also be able to comment on the redesigned scheme.”

A spokesman for the GLA said they were unable to comment because a planning application is still in the pipeline.

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