Property developer pledges to tear down pop-up library in Kensal Rise calling it an ‘illegal eyesore’
- Credit: Archant
A property developer has pledged to remove a pop-up library in Kensal Rise claiming it is an illegal structure that council chiefs are ignoring.
Andrew Gillick said he will take direct action if Brent Council fail to dismantle the structure in Bathurst Gardens which was erected following the closure of Kensal Rise Library.
Mr Gillick, the director of Platinum Revolver Limited which took over the building from owners All Soul’s College in Oxford, has applied for permission to convert the site into six flats, a cottage and a community hub.
He claims the pop up library is the work of campaigners from the Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL), who have been vigorously fighting the branch closure, and they are using tactics to stop its removal.
He said: “I am aware as are FKRL that the pop-up library is an illegal structure.
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“This structure is an eyesore, illegal and Brent planning department are failing their duty by not taking action.
“I have asked FKRL to ask who is responsible for the library to set about making arrangements for its removal. So far FKRL have given me no assurances they are willing to comply with the law however ultimately this structure will need to be removed in the near future with or without the agreement of its ‘owners’.”
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Margaret Bailey chair of the trustees of FKRL denies they are behind the structure.
She said: “It is a community initiative in response to the closure of Kensal Rise Library.”
Mr Gillick has previously clashed with FKRL campaigners over his plans for the site with him claiming that his offer to give them a £1m state-of-the-art community hub had been shunned.
Under his proposals, the community space will occupy almost 1,900 square feet but FKRL said The Art Council recommends for every thousand people you need between 25 and 30 square metres of space so would need 4,000 square feet.
Mr Gillick, who said he has a social conscience, told the Times if FKRL don’t take the space he will offer it elsewhere.
Cllr Roxanne Mashari, Brent Council’s lead member for environment and neighbourhoods, said: “Brent Council is looking into Mr Gillick’s complaint regarding the pop up library.
“I will continue to work with officers in environment and neighbourhoods to develop a package of supportive measures for any community library in future.”
A decision on Mr Gillick’s application to convert the building will be heard on Wednesday.
Brent Council has recommended it is refused.