Councillor claims Kensal Rise library campaigners have given up their fight

But leader of Brent Council says he doesn’t know anything about it....

The councillor who oversaw the controversial closure of half the borough’s libraries has claimed that campaigners have withdrawn their bid to take over one of the axed branches.

Cllr James Powney, lead member for environment and neighbourhoods at the council, has blogged that the Friends of Kensal Rise group, which has been fighting tooth and nail to keep the Kensal Rise Library in Bathurst Gardens, has written to the council saying they no longer wish to use the building.

However, when the Times spoke to Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, he said he was unaware of any such letter.

He said: “As far as I know the Friends of Kensal Rise still plan to run a community library in the building.” Cllr Powney, who is also one of the three Labour councillors for the Kensal Green ward where the site is located, said on his blog: “In a remarkable turnaround the Friends of Kensal Rise Library have now written to Brent Council saying that they do not wish to run a library at the All Souls College owned building in Bathurst Gardens.

“How odd is that, after almost two years of campaigning for a library at that very site?”

The Times tried to contact Cllr Powney on several occasions to see a copy of the letter but were unsuccessful.

Most Read

The reading room was given to Brent Council as a gift, from All Souls College in Oxford and was officially opened by American author Mark Twain in 1900.

Last July, campaigners had taken the council to the High Court in a bid to save Kensal Rise, Tokyngton, Cricklewood, Preston, Neasden and Barham Park libraries from closure.

However, a judge ruled in favour of the council and the branches were closed immediately following the ruling in October.

Its ownership officially passed back to All Souls earlier this year, who are now offerings viewings to prospective buyers or leasers.

Margaret Bailey, a member of the Friends of Kensal Rise group told the Times: “We are putting a proposal to All Souls College to run a community library in the building.”