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Disgruntled residents protest on top of demolished library

PUBLISHED: 18:44 31 January 2014 | UPDATED: 18:44 31 January 2014

Local residents and school children demonstrate outside the closed library (pic credit: Jan Nevill)

Local residents and school children demonstrate outside the closed library (pic credit: Jan Nevill)

Archant

Disgruntled residents staged a demonstration on top of the rubble of the pop-up Kensal Rise library, which was destroyed in the early hours of the morning today.

Many locals braved the rain to unite outside the closed building and express their anger at the destruction of the beloved makeshift library.

Stephanie Schonfield, of Friends of Kensal Rise Library, who helped operate the library, said the community are “devastated” by the loss.

“We want our library back,” she said.

“The campaign is as strong as it ever was and the amount of people that turned up today shows how important the library was to the community.”

All Souls College, Oxford, which owns the closed library have pointed the finger at town hall bosses.

In a letter seen by the Times, the council stated the build was “unacceptable” and that enforcement action “should be taken” to remedy the breach of planning control.

“The council asked us to do this a long time ago but we didn’t in the interest of the community,” a spokesperson for the college said.

“We waited till the last possible moment until we were legally obligated to vacate the property.”

The council claims it did not order the removal of the library, and sent the letter because they were “duty bound to investigate” a complaint sent by an unnamed person.

“However, we decided not to take enforcement action and our understanding is that it is All Souls College who initiated the removal of the pop up library earlier today,” Stephen Weeks, Head of Brent Council Area Planning said.

Ms Schonfield claims that the college should take some responsibility for their actions.

She added: “Why didn’t they send a letter to inform us that they will dismantle the library on 31 January?

“Also another question I’d like to raise is why didn’t they just destroy the part of the property that is on private land and left the part that was built on public pavement?”

The pop up library was erected nearly two years ago following the closure of the main library building, by the council, in a bid to save £1 million in October 2011.

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