Development plans could close Preston Community Library in Wembley
PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 September 2016
Campaigners in Wembley are fighting to save their community library following proposals by the council to redevelop the site into flats.
Under the plans for the current home of Preston Community Library in Carlton Avenue East, the building will be bulldozed and replaced with up to 19 new homes.
The new development will include a community space but it may be put out for tender with an annual predicted rent of £51,000 – a sum campaigners would be unable to afford.
Phil Bromberg is the chairman of the library which opened in May last year following the closure of the council-run branch in 2011.
It is run by the Friends of Preston Library, a charity that was established after the council announced its closure plans.
He told the Times the council had reneged on a promise to provide the charity with a community space with a peppercorn rent.
Mr Bromberg said: “We are quite open to moving into the community space in the development but the problem is it will put out to open tender at market rent.
“There’s a real possibility that if the plans are approved the library will be forced to close down.
“It’s a very well used facility and a secular space that is popular.
“We are not against the development but we want the council to keep its promise.”
The news comes after the library jointly won a £45,000 grant with fellow community libraries in Barham Park, Cricklewood and Kensal Rise to pay for a specialist who would work across all four branches.
All were closed alongside Neasden and Tokyngton libraries to save the council £1miliion a year.
Mr Bromberg said: “The community has set up a wonderful facility which is now at risk.
“We have lost of classes including IT and ESOL which is very popular.
“I am gratified by the support shown by the community who have written to the leader of the council (Cllr Muhammed Butt) and the Barnhill and Preston councillors have also been very helpful so I do hope the council will reconsider.”