Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Petition presented but will Council listen?

On the Town Hall steps last night
Supported by more than 60 campaigners Miki Berenyi presented Keep Willesden Green's 'Stop, Listen and Reflect' petition to the Executive last night with a cool and cogent speech detailing the Council's failure to consult, its neglect of the original building and its cinema and cafe area, and the fact that the new building has less community amenity than the original.

Cllr George Crane in response said that 'Pause and Reflect' (it is noteworthy that he left out 'listen') would perform no useful function and that the planning process would give time to reflect. He said that her understood the significance of the Old Willesden library building and suggested it could be 'celebrated' within the confines of the new building.

He said that the Council was trying to look at a space for the bookshop within what he called  the 'cafeteria' and was revising the space in the front of the building.

Two local Lib Dem councillors spoke. Cllr Gavin Sneddon in favour of the petition and Cllr Ann Hunter against. Sneddon compared the way Willesden residents had been treated to the very full consultation, from first principles, of the Harlexen Town Plan.

He asked Ann John to give residents an assurance that, in line with the law, no pressure would be put on councillors on the planning committee to approve the plans.

Ann John did not give any such assurance.

Cllr Ann Hunter in a long contribution said that she had asked for two plans - one with and one without the historic building. The previous retention of that building has been a compromise because of strong local feelings. She went on to suggest that there were other residents who thought that building had no value and that it was time to move forward with a dynamic new building that would enhance the area.

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