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Cricklewood Library friends ‘bemused’ that ongoing drain issues mean they still can’t open

PUBLISHED: 18:55 12 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:55 12 March 2019

The new Cricklewood Library

The new Cricklewood Library

Friends of Cricklewood Library

They’ve raised the money, they’ve got the planning permission, but two years on library campaigners in Cricklewood still can’t open for business.

Friends of Cricklewood Library in 2017 after smashing their fundraising target to bring the space back to lifeFriends of Cricklewood Library in 2017 after smashing their fundraising target to bring the space back to life

Friends of Cricklewood Library (FOCL) said they are “bemused and disappointed” that they can’t tell supporters when the branch will open.

The library in Olive Road is managed by Octavia Housing who said it will try and repair the drain this week.

Sally Long, FOCL chair, said: “We are bemused and disappointed that the building isn’t ready to start the work.

“Octavia are a very established charity with long experience building and developing properties, and yet at every step we’ve had to push for necessary work to be done.

“As an organisation we don’t understand the delays and we are asked every day by people waiting for the library to open why work hasn’t started, people who have given money to help get the building work done, who have given their time, people who just want to see the library open.

“Octavia will be our landlords, their tenants will use the library, we want a good relationship with them, but it’s hard to have confidence with them with this history.”

The branch, built in 1929, was closed by Brent Council alongside five other libraries to save £1miliion in 2011.

The group fought for six years to retain the library which was demolished in 2016 and rebuilt by developer Old Street Homes as a mixed development with a community space on the ground floor.

Following fundraising through crowdfunding the campaigners had a full survey done on the site a year later which revealed broken drains.

Ms Long added: “This is a repair that has been discussed since November 2017 - repairs that should have been identified by Octavia when they bought the property in 2016.”

A spokesperson for Octavia said they were “fully committed” to the library adding: “This was a project that we agreed to take on as part of a housing development because we believe it will be a great asset for the local community.

“Unfortunately, we encountered a number of complex legacy issues with the development, most of which have now been successfully resolved.

“There is an issue with the library drains, which a contractor has been working on since January.

“There was a delay to these works last week while the contractor carried out further necessary checks, but they are now happy to go ahead and they are due to return this week.

She added: “We are 100 per cent behind the library and are doing our best to ensure it is a success.”

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