Letters show Brent Council did not order demolition of Kensal Rise pop-up library
- Credit: Archant
The demolition of the treasured Kensal Rise pop-up library was not ordered by Brent Council, according to documents seen by the Times.
All Souls College (ASC), who own the land where the library stood, pointed the finger at council chiefs for the loss of the makeshift library, which was obliterated in the early hours of last Friday.
However, in letters of correspondence seen by the Times, planning bosses gave assurances to ASC that they would be notified if enforcement would be taken against the makeshift library.
In a letter sent to ASC, the council stated that the build was “unacceptable” and that “enforcement action” “should be taken” to remedy the breach in planning following a complaint from ONE person.
In response to the ASC lawyers asked whether the council intended to carry through with the enforcement notice, to which the planning bosses replied: “…in the event that enforcement action is to proceed…[the Council] will be in contact with you at an early stage.”
The college lawyers welcomed the news, and confirmed the information will be relayed to ASC.
“It is reassuring to know that the council will be in contact in the event of any enforcement action,” their response read.
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This letter marks the end of the correspondence between the two organisations.
Commenting on the revelations, Cllr Roxanne Mashari, Lead Member for Environment and Neighbourhoods, who visited the site to inspect the damage hours after its destruction, told the Times she wasn’t interested in playing the “blame game”.
She added: “Finger pointing and blaming each other is not going to put a community library in the building.
“I do not approve that All Souls College went ahead with the demolition without informing the council and the community.
“Nonetheless, our main concern and focus will be to secure a community library, and we would like to continue negotiations with ASC to make this a reality.”
The hugely popular library, which many considered to be a community hub was dismantled with many books being thrown to the side where they were destroyed by the rainy weather.
The pop-up library was set up by campaigners after Kensal Rise Library in Bathurst Gardens was closed alongside five other branches to save the council £1million.
In September last year Andrew Gillick, the director of Platinum Revolver Limited which took over the building from ASC, told the Times the structure was an eyesore and he would take direct action if Brent Council failed to dismantle it.
An ASC spokesman said they did not remove the books until “legally obliged to do so” to deliver the building to its new owner with vacant possession.
“This meant that the structures which supported the books and which were attached to the building had to be removed on Friday, 31 January,” he added.
“The intention remains that someday a new space offering library services to the local community can be created within the building.”
Margaret Bailey, Chair of Friends of Kensal Rise Library, told the Times the council are not to blame.
She said: “In a civilised world there would be apologies all round from all parties who were quick to either blame the council or an officer of the council.
“I would hope now that we can move on. We need to get all the parties around a table and we need to negotiate for the community of Kensal Rise to have a community library in the Kensal Rise Library building.