Property developer and campaigners clash over the future of Kensal Rise Library
- Credit: Archant
A property developer’s bid to give library campaigners in Kensal Rise free space for a £1m state-of-the-art community hub has been shunned.
Andrew Gillick’s plans for Kensal Rise Library in Bathurst Gardens, would see between 25 and 30 per cent of the building assigned to community use with the remainder converted into six flats and a cottage.
Under his proposals, the community space will occupy almost 1,900 square feet but campaigners Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL) say they need more than double that amount.
Margaret Bailey, FKRL chair, said: “It’s not adequate for running a library or community space.
“The Arts Council recommends that for every thousand people you need between 25 and 30 square metres of space so we would need 4,000 square feet.
“The building is listed as having community value. The community does not want flats in this building.”
Mr Gillick, who owns Chelsea based developers Platinum Revolver, bought the building last year after it was closed by Brent Council in October 2011.
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Last month he submitted a planning application to make the changes.
He said: “I always fancied creating community space. It’s a nice building and a nice area. I was the only person willing to buy the building and put community space back into it.
“All of my plans have always included reinstating the library - a commercial hub that functions as a library.”
“Its costing around £1m so we are not making any money out of this, despite what everyone thinks.”
The community space would be run as a multi-functional, self sufficient, not-for-profit organisation with a focus on education.
Alongside technology based modern library facilities, it would provide a venue for private and social functions, meetings, numerous recreational classes, movie evenings and youth groups
Mr Gillick, who said he has a social conscience, added: “If FKRL don’t want to take it somebody else can.
“If I was money grabbing I could do it all residential.
“It’s a win win for the community.”
A decision will be made by Brent Council in the next few weeks.