Owner of condemned Willesden bookshop kept in the dark about his future

Trader claims Brent Council have yet to contact him since redevelopment plans for site were signed off

The owner of Willesden Green’s condemned bookshop has insisted he has not heard from Brent Council since the decision to redevelop Willesden Green library was rubber-stamped.

Stephen Adams has been kept in the dark about his future despite pledges from the council that they would help him find a new base,

The bookshop, which opened in 1989, has not been allocated a space in the regeneration plans which were unanimously approved during the council’s executive meeting on January 17.

Mr Adams told the Times that the last time he heard from the council was when he was served with a closure notice in December last year.

He added: “I haven’t heard anything at all.

“The last I heard was that there were no vacant positions within the High Road. But it it’s not something I want to comment on further at this stage.”

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The building will be closed for almost two years during the redevelopment, which will also see the locally listed former library building and currently Brent’s Irish Advisory Service base demolished.

Last year, Brent Council permanently shut Barham Park, Neasden, Cricklewood, Kensal Rise, Preston and Tokyngton libraries in the face of public outrage, in a move will save �1m.

The bookshop, which is renowned for its supply of children’s books, has attracted much support including Brent’s Green Party spokesman Martin Francis.

Mr Francis, who is on the governor’s board at Braintcroft and Chalk Hill Primary Schools, has set up an e-petition calling for the bookshop to be included in the plans.

The petition has already attracted widespread support and gained almost 300 signatures.

He told the Times: “The council really needs to demonstrate to the community that they are doing something to help secure the future of the bookshop because it plays a very important role in our society.

“I think it’s the least they could do.”

But, Cllr George Crane, Brent Council’s lead member for regeneration and major projects, said that the bookshop may not be required to leave the property as early as first feared and that they would assist them in finding new premises.

He said: “We may not need the building as early as we first thought so it’s possible they may be able to stay on site until the summer or beyond.

“However, we will start helping them straight away; my understanding is that there are vacant shops in the High Road where they could move to.

“The New Windows on Willesden Green project which will help to occupy vacant shops will be a big help.”