We want to be open in time for Christmas, say Friends of Cricklewood Library

The new Cricklewood Library

The new Cricklewood Library - Credit: Friends of Cricklewood Library

Campaigners working to re-open Cricklewood Library are still waiting to set foot in the new building.

Friends of Cricklewood Library (FoCL) were devastated when the library in Olive Road, first built in 1929, was closed in 2011 by Brent Council.

It was eventually bought by developer Old Street Homes, which rebuilt the site as six flats and a community space on the ground floor. One of the conditions of the planning permission was that part of the site would have to be used as a library – but it still hasn’t opened.

“We’re always being asked about when the library will open,” said Sally Long, chair of FoCL. “It’s ridiculous that we’ve had to wait so long.”

The new 2,000 sq ft space still needs plumbing and electrics as well as bookshelves and tables before the community can be allowed to use it.

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FoCL have been fundraising to fund the fitting out of the library.

They hoped to get access to the building back in March. Four months later they still don’t have the keys, even though the shell of the building is ready.

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The building was bought by Octavia, a not-for-profit organisation offering social housing, in 2016.

Under the planning permission for the development, Octavia has to lease some space to the charity who originally owned the land that has been built on.

Once the lease is in place that charity – the Warden and College of the Souls of All Faithful People Deceased in the University of Oxford – will then agree a sub-lease for the library.

“We are working with all the parties involved to get the lease agreed, so the space can be handed over to Cricklewood Library,” said spokeswoman Angela Kawa.

“The legal agreements are taking longer than we’d like.

“Even though our involvement has been fairly recent the library group has been waiting since 2011 – so I understand their frustration.”

Cricklewood Library was one of 25 projects chosen to receive funding by Sadiq Khan through his Crowdfund London scheme.

“If we don’t start working soon we’re risking losing the money from the GLA,” said Sally.

“We know Octavia have good will, but we need action.”

But she added: “If we get all our ducks lined up we want to start work in the autumn and be open in time for Christmas.”

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