Pictured: Letter by Brent Council which led to the demise of pop-up library in Kensal Rise
- Credit: Archant
This is a copy of the letter that sounded the death knell for a pop-up library which had become a community hub in Kensal Rise.
Brent Council sent the correspondence to All Souls College (ASC), who own the land where the library stood, following a complaint from ONE person.
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.
Last Friday, at the break of dawn the library was dismantled with many books being thrown to the side where they were destroyed by the rainy weather.
Angry residents including members of campaign group Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL) vented their fury during a protest on the site hours later.
The council claims it did not order the removal of the library, and sent the letter because they were “duty bound to investigate” the complaint.
The letter states: “It appears from my initial investigation that this development has been undertaken…without the benefit of planning permission.
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“I am of the opinion that this is unacceptable and it is of my intention that enforcement action should be taken to remedy this breach of planning control.”
Stephanie Schonfield, of FKRL, said the community are “devastated” by the loss of the pop-up library.
She said: “We want our library back.
“The campaign is as strong as it ever was and the amount of people that turned up shows how important the library was to the community.”
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.
When contacted by the Times last week he failed to respond but last September he said: “This structure is an eyesore, illegal and Brent planning department are failing their duty by not taking action.”
Mr Gillick, who has also taken over Cricklewood Library, had his plans to turn Kensal Rise Library into six flats, a cottage and a community hub rejected by the council.
A second planning application to demolish Cricklewood Library was withdrawn at the 11th hour.
Mr Gillick is currently drawing up revised development plans for both sites.
Cllr Roxanne Mashari, Lead Member for Environment and Neighbourhoods, who visited the site to inspect the damage told the Times she was “shocked” to learn of the demolition.
She added: “As far as I’m aware we were negotiating with Andrew Gillick to get the community library in the main building.
“This is not conducive to finding an agreement with the local community.”