Brent Council approves plans to convert Kensal Rise library into flats
PUBLISHED: 18:27 17 July 2014 | UPDATED: 18:27 17 July 2014
Controversial plans to redevelop an axed library in Kensal Rise were unanimously given the green light by planning chiefs following a hard fought campaign against it.
Brent Council’s planning committee sanctioned the development of the defunct Kensal Rise Library but attached a list of conditions- including better provisions for bike stands and a new entrance door to the community use.
Cllr Shafique Choudhary and Cllr Dan Filson who represents the Barnhill, and Kensal Green ward, took no part in the discussion or consideration of the application after expressing personal interest.
Under the plans, submitted by Andrew Gillick, director of Platinum Revolver Limited (PRL), which owns the Victorian property, the site will be renovated into five flats and a community space.
He will convert it under the handle of Kensal Properties – another company he runs.
An agreement between the developers and Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL), who have lobbied for a reading room to operate on the site of the closed branch in Bathurst Gardens, was announced a day before the planning committee met.
Margaret Bailey, chair of FKRL claims the lease to the community space extends to almost millennia.
She said: “It has been a long campaign with many obstacles. Perhaps not a perfect solution but a compromise that will now let us concentrate on providing a library in our community once more.
However, critics claim that more weight should have been given to the buildings listing as asset of community value,
Jodi Gramigni, who has campaigned to save the site from development, said: “I am disappointed that officers chose to disregard the material relevance of the ACV listing. They chose not to use it in a meaningful way.”
“There has been enormous goodwill throughout the campaign, from the local community and beyond, and this continues.”
The decision marked the end of a long saga, which saw the launch police investigation into the alleged fraudulent emails supporting the previous application.
Last month, the committee voted to defer a decision on the application, pending legal advice on the importance of ongoing probe.
Condemning the decision, Meg Howarth, who has lobbied to save the axed library, said: “There was no update on the investigation in yesterday’s meeting. With planning permission being granted, I am concerned that the investigation will be quietly dropped.”
Cllr Margaret McLennan, lead member for regeneration and housing, said: “We are delighted that community use remains at the heart of this much loved building as well as providing additional housing in the area.”