Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone vows to help reopen Cricklewood Library

Politician said he opposed Labour-run Brent Council’s decision to axe six branches

Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone has vowed to help campaigners in their quest to reopen Cricklewood Library.

Mr Livingstone has told the Times that he will work with All Souls College, who own the building in Olive Road, to find a solution that will see the doors opened up as a library again.

The Labour candidate, who lives around the corner from the axed branch in Ivy Road, had previously kept tight-lipped about the saga, but finally spoke out during a visit to Willesden this morning (Friday).

He said: “I opposed the closures in the first place and it was one the few things I disagreed with the local authority on.”

“I used to take my children to Cricklewood Library after school to do their homework, so I have fond memories of it and the library campaigners have often visited me.”

Cricklewood was one of six libraries axed by Brent Council to save �1m.

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Campaigners fought vehemently to save Cricklewood, Kensal Rise, Preston, Barham, Tokyngton and Neasden libraries by talking the issue to the High Court but the doors were closed for good when they lost their court action.

Crusaders carried on the fight by calling for Cricklewood and Kensal Rise libraries , which are both owned by All Souls College, to be handed over to the community where the could continue as a resource centre at no cost to the council.

However, Brent Council announced earlier this week they had returned the buildings to their owners.

Mr Livingstone said the college should consider the option to hand the building to the community.

He said: “They [All Souls College] are a charity but are saying they have to do what is best for them. That does not really make sense.

“I will be contacting in the future to discuss ways they can work with us to hopefully re-open a library.”

A spokesman for All Souls told the Times although they ‘regret’ having the buildings back their focus must now centre on what would best benefit them.