Shelved Willesden Green Library redevelopment plans cost taxpayers �170,000

Brent Council spent six-figure sum on controversial proposals which have now been withdrawn

Brent Council has so far spent �170,000 of taxpayers’ money on a controversial planning application to redevelop Willesden Green Library, the Times can reveal. The application has now been withdrawn.

Last week the local authority was forced to abandon its plans to build a new cultural centre on the Willesden High Road site. It will now be re-drafted by developer Galliford Try.

The council had already spent �170,000 on early feasibility studies, building briefs and a tendering process, as well as paying legal and professional fees.

Campaigner Martin Redston said: “The reports for repair work at the existing building were about �600,000. This �170,000 is a third of this figure.

“It is appalling that the council has spent nearly �200,000 on this exercise when they could have got on with the job and improved the current library.

“This is a bad use of taxpayers’ money and begs the question; does Brent Council administer money in an efficient way?”

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Thousands signed petitions and campaign group Keep Willesden Green was set up to stop the demolition.

The plans included knocking down the 1894 Victorian building which stands next to the current building.

Brent Council said the decision to redraft the plans “was to allow more time to consider the design of the new cultural centre.”

Campaigners say they now want to work with the council to ensure the next proposal is a community friendly and architecturally accepted design.

Cllr George Crane (Labour), lead member for regeneration and major projects, said: “We are absolutely committed to delivering a top class building for all residents.

“Development opportunities like this don’t come along every day and we are quite prepared to delay things if the end result is a better facility. This redevelopment has never been a foregone conclusion as some people have claimed.’’

extra time for discussion demonstrates that.

“From the outset we have always been clear that residents were at the heart of this project, it needs to be at no capital cost and it results in a quality development - these principles remain unchanged.”