Campaign launched to save Citizens Advice Bureau in Kilburn

Resident Katie Gray signs the petition launched by James King

Resident Katie Gray signs the petition launched by James King - Credit: Archant

Branch will relocate to the former site of Regent’s Park Library

A campaign has been launched to stop the Citizens Advice Bureau branch in Kilburn from closing.

A petition has been drawn up following a decision to relocate the vital service to the former site of Regent’s Park library.

James King, one of the campaigners fighting to save the branch, said: “It’s a huge loss to the local community after 40 years on the High Road.

“There is clearly a need for face-to-face advice services in Kilburn on issues such as housing, debt and benefits”

Several hundred people have signed the petition in the hope that Camden Council will work with CAB to provide alternative premises in the Kilburn or West Hampstead area.

Mr King, a former Lib Dem councillor for the Kilburn ward, added: “We have found that not many residents know they are about to lose a valued service and they are very concerned and most are keen to sign the petition.

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“The decision to close the CAB appears to have been triggered by a 40 per cent cut in Camden Council’s grant to Camden Citizens Advice. While I appreciate that all councils are under funding pressure, it’s a bit odd that the council is offering free premises for a new CAB in Regents Park at the same time.

“There are already two other CABS on that side of Camden, in Kentish Town and Holborn.”

Yael Gev, 71, of Gascony Avenue, Kilburn, described the CAB service as ‘excellent’.

She said: “It is one of the best services in Kilburn.

“To close it is really unreasonable.”

Cllr Gillian Risso-Gill is due to question Camden Council on its intentions for alternative advice provision at a council meeting next Monday.

She said: “We are just concerned in the north of the borough that there is no advice the general public can access

“We just feel its wrong when CAB is dealing with twice as many calls as usual.”

However, Cllr Tulip Siddiq, Camden’s cabinet member for culture and communities, said the council had no involvement in CAB’S decision to close its Kilburn branch.

She said: “We provided CAB with a £500,000 contract for advice services and have also been actively supporting them to attracting new funding.

“CAB did not inform the council about their intention to close this branch.

“However, we have worked with them to ensure welfare advice services remain available in the local area as we recognise the vital role of these services.”

Jan Knight, CEO of Camden CAB said: “We have been looking for an alternative, more suitable, building to the Kilburn High Road premises for some years and we will save by relocating as we currently pay a commercial rent. Our new premises will be council- owned

“Our clients in Kilburn will be able to access advice services nearby at West Hampstead Women’s Centre and Brondesbury Medical Centre.”