Library campaigners named as new tenants for community space in axed Kensal Rise branch

Kensal Rise Library will be converted in flats and a community space

Kensal Rise Library will be converted in flats and a community space - Credit: Archant

Library campaigners are celebrating after they were named as the new tenants for a community space in the former site of an axed branch in Kensal Rise.

Friends of Kensal Rise (FKRL), who have lobbied for a reading room to operate on the site of the closed branch in Bathurst Gardens, will open a community-run library in the space.

Controversial plans to redevelop the site into five flats with the community space are due to be heard by planning chiefs tomorrow.

Margaret Bailey, chair of FKRL said the lease to the space extends to almost millennia.

She said: “This is a real breakthrough and achievement, and thanks must go to our Trustees and committee for their hard work in achieving this.”

Thanking supporters and Cllr Roxanne Mashari, who represents the Welsh Harp ward, and was heavily involved in negotiations, Ms Bailey continued: “This has been a long campaign with many obstacles.

“We hope now to be able to focus on creating a library and community space for all in our community”.

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FKRL were previously named as only the ‘preferred’ tenants of the space, prompting fears that the space will be handed to the highest bidder after the plans were voted through.

The plans have been submitted by Andrew Gillick, director of Platinum Revolver Limited (PRL), which owns the Victorian property.

He will convert it under the handle of Kensal Properties – another company he runs.

It is hoped that the agreement will tip the scales in favour for the planned development.

Mandip Sahota, associate planner for the developer said the decision took into account the closed library’s Asset of Community Value status.

He said: “We trust this goes some way to giving the Council, the FKRL and the local community the confidence to support this application.”

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