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Questions raised after Kensal Rise Library put up for sale

PUBLISHED: 19:15 11 December 2014 | UPDATED: 19:20 11 December 2014

The site is up for auction with a guide price of £1.15m

The site is up for auction with a guide price of £1.15m

Archant

Questions are being raised surrounding the sale of the Kensal Rise library site which has been put up for auction.

The Victorian building in Bathurst Gardens is to be sold, with planning permission, with a guide price of £1.15m.

The library was closed by Brent Council in 2011 and the building handed back to its owners All Souls’ College who went on to sell it to property developer Andrew Gillick.

Earlier this year he was granted permission to convert the building into five flats and a community space.

Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL), a campaign group which fought to stop the reading room from closing, have been named as the ‘preferred tenants’ of the community space in the building and plan to use it as a reading room.

They are believed to have put in a bid for the building, classed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), which has raised concerns over the legality of the sale.

The ACV status means the speculated bid has activated a six month moratorium during which Mr Gillick can only sell to a ‘community interest’ group until May next year.

However the auction will go ahead next Wednesday.

Meg Howarth, a library campaigner, said: “I believe the auction to be illegal.

“There’s something that is clearly not above board.”

Denying he was doing anything wrong, Mr Gillick told the Times: “We are fully aware of the ACV legislation and the Localism Act of 2011 and we are in full compliance. I would encourage any local group to put their best foot forward and bid for the property.

“Having gained planning for a residential and D1 space we have created a great opportunity here for the savvy bidder and any local group.”

A spokesman for Brent Council said: “We have notified the owners and their solicitors of the legal responsibilities under the localism action.

“It is the responsibility of the owner to act within the legal requirements.”

FKRL failed to return our calls.

Related link: Brent Council approves plans to convert Kensal Rise library into flats


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