Friday, 8 June 2012

Public give Willesden Green proposals a thumbs down

Below are all the on-line comments made on the planning application for the Willesden Green Cultural Centre up to noon today. Comments can be submitted  formally  up to June 22nd 2012 and informally may be included after that date if received before the Planning Committee.  LINK   (Application 12/1190)
Note: there will be additional postal comments on the planning application not available here.

  • 26 Whitmore Gardens , London , NW10 5HH: I object to the demolition of the characterful old library building to make way for reduced benefits to the local community. The valuable open space on the High Street will be lost, as well as the cinema and bookshop. The new design looks like a one size fits all affair which has no respect for the historic High Street. It is very wasteful to demolish the existing building. This project does not serve the needs of the community, which will benefit more from preserving the essential open space and architectural heritage of the High Street.
  • 30 Van Diemans Road , Chelmsford , Essex , Herts , CM2 9QQ : This is an aggressive and unsympathetic attack on the historic and architectural character of a distinctive London neighbourhood. The proximity of the building to the main road will reduce light and create congestion and darkness exactly where we need to be improving the quality of the environment. Relocating 'public space' into a concealed area behind the building is a means of concealing and removing facilities from the people who live in the area. It demonstrates a lack of understanding of the nature in which public space and community facilities are used and valued. The proposed scheme represents a net loss in square footage of library space, loss of a bookshop, loss of public space, loss of parking, loss of a much-loved historic building, loss of the Irish community resource (so intrinsic to the cultural and social history of Willesden Green). In its place there is unaffordable housing, cramped bus stops, a traffic bottle-neck, and offices for Brent Council. To pass such a scheme would be to completely disregard the values held so strongly by the people of Willesden Green and to demonstrate that the democractic process is only for the rich.
  • 12 Cooper Rd , London , NW10 1BG: I would like to place an objection to the planning committee in relation to the plans to redevelop Willesden library Centre. The planned building looks totally out of keeping with the conservation area. At the very least, a new modern building should retain some hint of taste and frontage that would be attractive and interesting enough to maybe one day achieve iconic status itself. There has been a massive community response to the council about keeping the old library building to which the response is that as it has been substantially changed it is now no longer of historical significance. I beg to differ. Even in its adapted state, it still provides a pleasing historical frontage that is an iconic landmark for the area and is most definitely in keeping with the high street. Why is the council so determined to ignore public opinion on this? Where are all the supporters for this travesty of a design that will stand out like the sorest of thumbs? The new build apparently 'will have a very strong position on the high road', which translated, means it will be crammed right up to the edge of the pavements on all sides. The current library, DESPITE its position set back from the high street behind the Victorian old library building, still manages to attract a large footfall. It is perfectly obvious to people who use it where it is. This 'connection' to the high street business is surely just an excuse to swallow every inch of available land for profits to be made from the sale of flats that will cover the VERY USEFUL parking space. The open space that is created currently between the old library and the 1987 Library Centre is a welcoming space that automatically has that all important 'strong position on the high road'. It brings light to what is quite a narrow high road and heavily dominated by other buildings with that 'strong position'. Anti-social behaviour and street drinkers can be deterred by building over every inch of available land. Architecture cannot alone account for behaviour. The proposal to include a space behind the library and between the library and the flats (the block that is 5 storeys high) and somehow 'guarded' and monitored by the new flat residents, even with, I daresay, lots of CCTV, still looks like a haven for possible anti-social behaviour. The planners talk about 'public realm'. How come the 'public realm' does not need to have a 'strong position on the high road' which would surely be the obvious place for a public realm. It will be barely public at all, tucked away at the back entrance. The Willesden Bookshop, currently perfectly sited, will be lost, dismissed as unable to afford the rent. Heartbreaking. The council is obviously a part of the planned development as it has commissioned the application and will control the Cultural Centre once finished, yet is also responsible to agreeing and passing the application. It is difficult to see how this works, the application being submitted by Galliford Tri, who are bound by their terms with the council to provide a Library Centre in accordance with the needs of the community. I am just not sure how this is fair and providing proper accountability for residents of Brent when considering the exchange of a valuable piece of land for a Cultural Centre that has not felt necessary to the local community, particularly after the closing of six other libraries in the borough. This application may appear to be of benefit to the council and the developers but has totally failed to consider the opinions and needs of the community. What a contrast to the original community plans that built that old 1894 building now to be consigned to a virtual memory. This is a disappointing vision for Willesden's future.
  • Flat n.2, 106 High Road - Willesden Green , London , NW10 2PP: Hi, I am an Italian web developer who lives in Willesden since four years. I am utterly shocked at the idea that the things that I love more here - the old library building and the diluted modernist current library building - are going to disappear to make place for - guess what? Flats. New flats, like it happened to the Spotted Dog. Let's face it, Willesden is probably not the most interesting suburbia in London, and the library corner is the only truly charming spot here. Both buildings are documents to the past history of the area. I ask therefore for the proposal to be reconsidered and BOTH buildings to be kept and put to good use. regards, Barbara Cassani
  • 71a dartmouth ROAD , London , London , NW2 4EP : I believe the the proposed design lacks in local character and context as per your own UDP policy 2004 item BE2 to this a portion of the site at least is within a Conservation area. I feel the proposed buildings lack the detailing typical of the surrounds and fails to enhance or even maintain the character of the existing area and the street scene. The demolition of the small front building can not be justified on purely economic viability of the overall scheme but must be considered as to weather the existing building adds to the conservation area more than any proposed building. The rear flats also lack detail and character They are just benign boxes typical of docklands/east london 2012 Olympic buildings The materials are too bland and extensive without any human scale . I say NO
  • 7b strode road , london , : The plans involve the demolition of a locally listed building. The proposals fail to demonstrate that the new facilities will be a significant improvement on the existing. Architecturally the proposals make no reference to the local area whatsoever but are entirely generic. This makes a mockery of the spirit of the current conservation area. In terms of facilities the only significant improvement to residents is an increased one stop facility. Residents were not consulted on the demolution of the victorian library building. The housing market is currently depressed and better options will be available if this issue is revisited when the climate has improved. Residents wish to be involved in a proactive discussion of how better library facilities could be delivered in willesden. This could easily happen but has not so far. A major development of this kind must have the support of the local community to be a success, it patently does not.
  • 12 Spencer Road , Wembley , HA0 3SF : What is disappointing about this scheme is that it would seem that the views of local people who are raising relevant objections, are not being considered. Also, when I first used Willesden Green Library Centre, having moved to the area, it was a real community hub - always alive and buzzing with contributions from many community groups - this community feel has been dilluted over the last 5-8 years and has gone from a place I visited 3-4 times a week, to a place I visit 3-4 times per year (if that). These current plans seem to further this distancing from what the community want. The Vision for design is set out as having a "strong emphasis on public realm and community value". I would be interested to learn what is deemed 'public realm' in this context. Those members of the community who are voicing their concern regarding the demolition of the Old Library building are, it would seem, being ignored. The Vision goes on to state that the new scheme will be "providing an appropriate image for a cultural hub". So, an 'appropriate image' means obliterating an historic building which has been a local landmark for many years? Do we need a large open main foyer rather than an historic building? Why can't the design incorporate use of the old building - connecting the past with the future of the cultural life of the community? The only answer, it would seem, would be financial gain and not community value. The Community Open Space issue is difficult to appreciate from the plans, but the proposed open space seems too far removed from the High Street to be used by passing footfall, unlike the current provision between the old building and 'new' centre. If the Client Brief had included keeping the old building - then the design would be more sympathetic with the surrounding area, as well as keeping local people happy. The rest of the Vision, as set out in the application, would probably then be supported as a step forward. Listen and compromise please.
  • 35 Meyrick Road , London , London , NW10 2EL: I am shocked by the heavy-handed way in which the current Borough of Brent administration has handled planning for the re-development of the Willesden Green Library site. It seems that the Council is in effect giving away a large and most valuable building site in exchange for a smaller public amenity building. The final plans for the site are extremely hard to navigate on the Council's Planning Application site (which pdf download file shows what?), but it is clear that the basic design has not been seriously modified from that offered during the public consultation phase. It is shocking that the Council appears to have entered into a contract with developers which requires the demolition of the Victorian building without first consulting anyone. Opinions differ as to the merits of that Victorian building, but it is clear that the public open space offered by the developers on the site is not in any way a genuine green open space, nor a public square providing a 'breather' on the High Road. What is planned would almost certainly turn out to be a draughty canyon between large blocks. The outward appearance of the proposed cultural centre does not relate to or enhance the shopping street in which it is set. It is positioned much too close to the main streets. None of the housing proposed is apparently to be 'affordable', a shocking outcome for a Labour administration. Parking space and thus access to the cultural centre are to be really limited. I do hope that the Council will now accept that much more consideration needs to be taken in this matter. A rushed job will be a a botched job.  
  • 25 Chambers Lane , London , NW10 2RJ: I strongly OBJECT to the demolition of the 1894 Victorian library building. I strongly OBJECT to the destruction of the heritage of our area. I strongly OBJECT to the construction of the new cultural centre. I strongly Object to all plans in this consultation.
  • 61 Chatsworth Rd , London , NW2 4BG : The old library building is one of the last preserved remnants of our architectural heritage left on Willesden High Rd. This characterful historic building is really the only beautiful building left in the area and it would simply be vandalism to demolish it. The hypocritical nature of the Councils proposal, that it's somehow OK for this important building to be knocked down beggars belief - it is not OK. The proposal to replace it with the new build would not only destroy the historic building with it's connection to the past, it would fundamentally change, forever, and for the worse, the character of Willesden. Currently the corner on which this wonderful building sits provides a rare and valued sense of space - it is an important open area which is vital to break up the "closed in" darkness that the rest of that stretch of High Road has. In addition, we would be left with a charmless anonymous modern building which has no architectural merit or innovative features of note - it could not possibly be said to provide an improvement of any kind to the area. I have used the library, and its excellent amenities, including the bookshop for many years and can see no valid reason for its replacement. Not only that, the current deficit of facilities caused by the shutdown of other local libraries would leave residents in this area without a valuable resource just when times are hard and access to library facilities are crucial for education and job seeking. It would be a waste of valuable resources to replace something that is very successful for the community already, with what you propose, at a time when we can't afford to make such costly mistakes. The way this project has been handled, with its sneaky introduction and continuation in the face of overwhelming public condemnation has angered many in the community. By all means build on the car park, but don't, please, damage Willesdens future by going any further than that. I object strongly to the proposal, it is simply short sighted and thoughtless for the future of Willesden and its residents.
  • 7 Huddlestone Road , London , NW2 5DL : I object to the application on a number of counts I am a concerned resident of Huddlestone Road Willesden Green. I am concerned that the proposed consultation on planning consent for the Willesden Green Library development runs contrary to Brent Councils policy on Conservation areas and would be as such a public law breach. Although many elements of BE25 -27 apply to the proposed development I particularly want to bring your attention to BE27. BE27 DEMOLITION & GAP SITES IN CONSERVATION AREAS Consent will not be given for the demolition of a building, or alteration involving demolition of part of a building, in a conservation area unless the building, or part of the building, positively detracts from the character or appearance of the Conservation Area. It clearly states that no consent can be given to the demolition of a building in a conservation area unless it positively detracts from the character or appearance of the conservation area. Given that the building is Victorian, and inside the conservation area, in good repair and locally listed it cannot be said to positively detract from the conservation area. Councillors should therefore not be put in the position of having to decide on its demolition. I would argue that until consultation on changing planning guidance for conservation areas takes place that this particular planning application, if it includes the Old (Victorian) Library at Willesden Green, represents a public law breach. The loss of the building represents a loss of cultural heritage as it is a one of a small number of landmark buildings that act as the centre of Willesden Green. By removing the old library the conservation area will be markedly undermined. Secondly the proposed new building although full of council administrative facilities has less cultural amenities. The library is smaller and there is no cinema. It is unfortunate that this once vibrant building has been undermined by years of poor management. Thirdly the proposals represent a loss of gathering space. By moving the new building forward a valued public open space next to the high road will be lost. This space has been used more and more by markets and dining. Rather than taking this positive facility away from the community work should be done to increase usage. There are two further concerns which regard the impact on the quality of life of the local community or issues of general well being. The building undermines the potential regeneration of the site by removing the car parking from behind the library. The recent Mary Portars report made quite clear the importance of car usage in boosting local high streets. A better course of action would have been to remove charges from the car park. Allied to this as a resident the absence of car parking facilities will cause pressure on the local community. If the Cultural centre does encourage greater visits to the area even in evenings or at weekends people will park in adjacent streets. If the facility is extremely successful the parking will be affected for some distance around. The idea that all visitors will come by public transport has to be said at very least to be contested and optimistic. Thus in order to carryout its duties on general well being before any new building takes place, the council needs to set out realistic parking plans to deal with the 90 new residential units and the parking that will come with extra usage of the building.
  • 61 Chandos Road, London , NW24LT : I am appalled at this development and am writing a letter in relationship outlining my reservations which include:lack of local consultation, destruction of public amenity, destruction of quality of life, misspending of taxpayers money, what is the remit and who is asking for this centre?
  • 30 Linacre Road , London , NW2 5BB : It would be totally unacceptable and against the wishes of most residents if the old library were to be demolished. It is one of the most significant old buildings in the area and with a little imagination and a small extra cost, could easily be incorporated into the plans for a new centre. If Brent Planning approve this, there will no doubt be fierce opposition by various means and the decision will certainly be remembered at the next election. There is absolutely no excuse for this blatant architectural vandalism and profiteering so often seen in London and Brent have the power to ensure a compromise is agreed to keep the original small building which has graced our Willesden Green scenery since 1894.
  • 23 Churchill Road , London , NW2 5ED : Dear Andy I write to add my voice to the thousands of others in and around Willesden Green expressing outrage at the proposed developments on the site of the current Willesden Green Library Centre. My criticisms are wide-ranging. Practical: The proposed development is smaller in terms of area than the current WGLC - because Brent Planning department has made the housing development the priority. It isn't good enough to say that a reduced cultural offer is an acceptable compromise because the development doesn't entail any financial outlay for Brent. If more of the land on which the proposed housing development were utilised for the proposed cultural centre, an improvement on the current provision could be sought. Brent is the client and has settled for second-best in this respect, not having negotiated sufficiently strongly with the developer and therefore not having brought about the best starting point for any new development for Brent residents on this site. Aesthetic: The design of the cultural centre is completely out of keeping with the neighbourhood, monstrous in form, hideous to look at and encroaches insensitively on the High Road with a lack of regard for aesthetics. The fact that the 1894 Old Library should be demolished in order to make way for the new building and proposed housing development demonstrates cultural vandalism of the highest order. Willesden Green has few secular buildings of note, yet this is undoubtedly one - and unique to the area. It is a focal point, a point of orientation, displays architectural features which are no longer present in modern designs - eg, ornamental plasterwork, turreted roofwork - is wholly in keeping with the Victorian surroundings and much loved. Some 25 years ago planners saw sense in retaining this building after its demolition was mooted. It beggars belief that Brent Planning department should be entertaining the idea of its demolition again. Culture: What is a "cultural" centre that seeks to justify its very existence through the eradication of a building of far greater cultural significance - the Old Library? As the client, Brent Planning department should ensure that two of the cultural mainstays of the current WGLC, the bookshop and Brent artists space, have pride of place in any proposed development, and the terms on which they currently operate should be safeguarded for the future. Again, it is unacceptable to claim that the design of the new centre wouldn't allow for these: Brent is the client here and should insist that such cultural features remain integral to any new design. Proposed new housing: Brent clearly has a dire shortage of housing, but the development proposed alongside the library does nothing to address this. It doesn't consist of affordable housing. On the contrary, residents here are likely to have to pay a premium for the style of apartments proposed. The housing development alongside the proposed cultural centre is completely out of scale with the surrounding neighbourhood, where houses are predominantly of two-storeys. To build blocks alongside these of 4-5 storeys is environmentally insensitive and is bound to impact negatively on those living nearby. Insufficient attention has been given to vehicles, with woefully inadequate parking arrangements likely to lead to congestion in the immediate area and a deterioration in the lifestyle of those living cheek by jowl with their new neighbours. Proposed layout: The loss of the current public gathering space has not been properly addressed in the proposed design. Relegating it to a shady area at the back of the building is to miss the point of how the area in its present location serves the local community. Kemuel Solomon - 23 Churchill Road NW2 5ED
  • 70 Walm Lane, Willesden Green , London , NW2 4RA : As both a local resident living on Churchill Road and as someone who has an office on Walm Lane I am writing to object to this planning application. I am objecting on the following grounds: Loss of the historic old library building The locally listed Old Library has been at the heart of Willesden High Road for well over a century, it is greatly valued by the local community and it is locally listed. It would be a huge loss to the High Road as it is one of the few remaining historical buildings in the local area. If Willesden Green library is to be rebuilt then the plans should incorporate the Old Library. Loss of library space As Willesden Green library will become increasingly popular following the closure of other local libraries, I am disappointed that the proposed new library will actually see a fall in the floor space dedicated to displaying books. It is also disappointing that the plans propose a book stock that is only either equal to or indeed less than the current library. Loss of the Willesden Bookshop and the Brent Irish Advisory Service Both the Willesden Bookshop and the Brent Irish Advisory Service (BIAS) are valued and popular community services. Willesden Bookshop stocks a wide range of books from around the world as well as important educational material. If it is forced to close as a result of not being incorporated into the Willesden Green library plans, then local residents will lose the only bookshop on the high street. The nearest alternative, Queen’s Park books, is well over a mile away. Similarly with BIAS, many of my constituents rely on them for support and advice. They are long established in the old library building and local residents know exactly where they are. Inappropriate residential provision I fully support suitable plans to increase the housing stock as there is a significant shortage of high quality homes in Brent. However, the proposed 92 residential units do not meet the needs of local residents for affordable family homes. There will be no affordable housing and, of the 92 units, only four will be three bedroom apartments. 96% of the new units will have either one or two bedrooms. This is clearly not the type of residential development that the people of Brent need. Loss of open space Currently, the open space in front of the library is used for markets and other community events. The plans that have been submitted remove this space. Following the latest consultation, the front of the proposed building has been moved back from the Willesden High Road. However, while I welcome the retention of the London Plane tree, these changes mean that there is very little open space at all in front of the planned Cultural Centre. I am also very concerned that the public space that has been provided is behind the proposed Cultural Centre and the northern most residential block. It is sandwiched between the two very tall buildings ¿ the four storey library and the five story residential block. At its narrowest, this space is only 11 metres across, making it very hard for markets to take place there while also allowing for a flow of people. Furthermore, as the space is not visible from the High Street, far less people will realise the events are taking place. I am also deeply concerned that the design of the open space will make it a magnet for anti-social behaviour. There is also no street lighting proposed along the space. When this point has been raised, the answer given by planning officers is that the space is overlooked by people in the residential units which will prevent anti-social behaviour. It is unacceptable that local residents should be expected to in effect police this open space.
  • 159 salmon street , Kingsbury , London , NW98NG : every time i go into the library it is full of school students working and the library is always full,sometimes you cant get a seat it is so busy.I cant believe that you would be considering closing this library.I use this library alot and it would be terrible to close it.
  • 61 Normanby Road , Willesden , NW10 1BU: I object to this application primarily because it represents a cut in Library provision We have already lost 2 libraries in the area and there is no guarantee that the proposed new library will match the old library in terms of sq metres or stock. This means that the residents in this part of Brent are being denied an essential service. I object to this application because if it goes through, the Bookshop, a thriving business which provides an invaluable service to local schools and the community will face closure. I object to this application on the grounds that there was no proper consultation with residents. I object to this application because it will result in the lose of invaluable public space on Willesden High Street, the demolition of a local landmark and the selling off of land which belongs to Brent ratepayers - who are not being compensated with improved service - smaller library, no bookshop, loss of parking space, loss of public space.
  • 20 Grange Road Willesden , London , NW10 1NX: I vehemently object to these planning application (12/1190 and 12/1191) on the following grounds: 1. Having lived at my property (20 Grange Road) for 20 years, under the1959 Rights of Light Act, I have the right to continue having light through my front window. 2. The demolition of the Victorian old library building removes the only building of character in this part of Willesden. 3. The demolition of the existing library is absurd given that it is a few decades old and has recently been entirely renovated¿using money from our Council Taxes 4. The proposed new library building is extraordinarily ugly and inappropriate for its surroundings. 5. The proposed new library building is far too small for the purpose, and would represent a massive loss of functionality at a time when so many libraries have been closed. 6. The abolition of parking for the library will cause congestion on Grange Road, so that residents will be unable to park. 7. The proposed new housing does not help to mitigate the lack of affordable housing in Willeseden¿it is clearly a money-making scheme for the developer, without benefit to ordinary working people in Willesden. It will simply increase the crowding of local amenities and place further pressure on borough services. 8. Finally, I am appalled by the lack of consultation that has characterized this proposal. It has been rushed through, presumably because the developers and borough council realized that residents of Willesden¿who through their council tax pay the salaries of borough officials¿would not accept this outrageous proposal.
  • 26b Grange Road , London , NW10 2QU: LOSS OF OPEN SPACE; There is an application to designate the conservation area surrounding the library as common land; used for celebrations, markets. Public land. Once lost, gone forever - after our non-resident developers have left for greener pastures. LOSS OF ICONIC,VICTORIAN BUILDING, built in 1894 and paid for by local taxpayers. Developer's greed for space is the only justification. UGLINESS & SHADOW - The proposed aspect is out of sympathy with surrounding buildings, will leave adjoining gardens in longer periods of shadow, muddier and unusable for longer periods. PEDESTRIAN CONGESTION - Narrower pavements and increased traffic will result in higher local levels of stress and inconvenience. Books are heavy to carry on public transport for people with disabilities or children. Library visits and books borrowed have already decreased. The new Centre will be more congested. ENVIROMENTAL WASTE - The demolition of a sound building, 23 years old, which Brent Council has never used to its full potential, and allowed to run down. MULTIPLE CONTRAVENTION OF CLAUSES IN BRENT'S GUIDELINES: 4. Environmental Protection (.pdf, 343Kb) 5. Housing (.pdf, 583Kb) 6. Transport (.pdf, 958Kb) 8. Town Centres and Shopping (.pdf, 886Kb) 9. Tourism, Entertainment and the Arts (.pdf, 207Kb) 10. Open Space and Recreation (.pdf, 810Kb) 11. Community Facilities (.pdf, 363Kb) 12. Waste (.pdf, 255Kb). Available online, and with which all Case Officers should be familiar. NO PUBLIC GAIN - the new plans offer less space and fewer resources to local residents, but free land to private developers. No planning gain under the Section 106 agreement. Interim provision for students is inadequate. Less space for parents with small children and buggies. NO MEANINGFUL CONSULTATION - The entire scheme was orchestrated behind closed doors for one year and then presented as a "done deal". I am aware that there are laws for the rich and others for the poor. Can anyone imagine this proposal being dumped on well-connected residents of Hampstead, Kensington, etc? STRONG LOCAL OPPOSITION - 80% of local residents are against. Not including a further 10% of parents from South American, African or Asian backgrounds who regularly use the library facilities, but who do not have the linguistic levels to understand and oppose the plans. MIS-MANAGEMENT - Councillors over the last 20 years have allowed the existing Library building to run down. There is no guarantee they will not do the same with the new one. LOSS OF MULTI-CULTURAL BOOKSHOP - perfectly in tune with the needs of our local community and schools. LOSS OF PARKING - Where will town visitors park? How much extra stress will be put on resident car-owners? The information regarding parking is misleading. Local businesses will suffer. TRANSFER OF PUBLIC LAND TO PRIVATE SECTOR - Increasing the discrepancy between rich and poor. The development is for private housing, an excellent time to buy if you have an extra £300,000 to invest (Labour Councillors should hang their heads in shame). SECRECY - This scheme was developed behind closed doors for one year before being dumped on local residents. Constant delays in communicating misleading information to the public, putting residents under greater time pressure to raise objections. ARROGANCE - Councillor Muhammed Butt, like his predecessor, seems to think local residents are stupid: "What I want to do is take stock of what we're doing... engage with our...front bench and the back benchers...more engagement with our residents...explain to them as to why we've taken the decisions..." LOSS OF LIGHT & PRIVACY - My light and privacy have already been compromised by the current development at 15 Grange Road opposite. Right of Light is protected in England and Wales under common law, adv
  • 9 Huddlestone Road , Willesden Green , London , NW2 5DL : I strongly object to the plans to demolish the old 1894 library building, which is so much a part of the character of the High Road and one of the few buildings on it with any charm, individuality or attractiveness. I also object to the loss of the current facilities which are highly valued by the residents of this area, particularly the bookshop. I would strongly urge the Council not to give consent to the application to demolish the old library building for the purpose of erecting this new cultural centre.
  • 1 Langley Ave , Hemel Hempstead , Herts , HP3 9NP : I cannot believe that Brent Council are trying to demolish this historic & beautiful building. This is a contemptible waste of tax payers money, Brent Council have already built a hideous building behind it only a few years ago & due to their negligence have failed to maintain it. Why is this council determined to destroy our English heritage & history. This truly beautiful Victorian building should be kept & maintained for prosperity, not demolished for something more modern & ugly, not all changes are better. The council should listen to their constituents voices & stop riding roughshod over the people who VOTE.
  • 142 Walm Lane , London , NW2 4RU : I strongly object to the demolition of this library. It has succeeded in becoming a meeting point for young people as well as other people of our community. Due to this library there is no anticocial behaviour in Willesden Green. It is the heart of our community
  • 40 Normanby Road , London , NW10 1BX: I object to plans to demolish the Victorian library building. The historical significance is clear. The building was designed by Newman and Newman, well-known architects whose London work helps define the architecture of the late Victorian period. It is original, being built at the time when Willesden Green was first developed, and it links to other notable buildings in the area (the church, the bank and the police station). On the Brent Council website the following text on Willesden Green appears ( in which the Council clearlystates that the Victorian library is listed as a building of note: "A Victorian commercial centre with buildings of note by several well-known architects: James Brooks, Newman and Newman and Gabriel contributed St. Andrews Church, the library, and the bank premises respectively." It should be preserved and incorporated in any plans, and not demolished.
  • 13 Buxton Road , London , NW2 5BL : The original library building gives character to the Willesden Green area and should be considered a local land mark. As for the current complex, it is shameful that the council let it get neglected and I am sure could simply be refurbished,
  • 6 Hamilton Road , London , NW10 1NX: Believe this development would be good for Willesden's long term future. It will provide a quality resource for residents in the south of the borough. Appreciated that a number of residents concerned about loss of the old library but believe parts of the old library structure could be used inside the building, perhaps at the museum entrance. Walkway could commemorate the first librarian - Chennell.
  • 35 Meyrick Road , Willesden , London , NW10 2EL: I don't like the large new building that is recommended in this planning application. The Library side of the existing Library Centre is pleasant and fit for purpose, although I can see that some work may need to be undertaken to the cinema side. Citizens of Willesden Green cherish the Open Space between the Library and the old building of 1894. The old building has character and is in keeping with Willesden High Road. Recently the Museum has conducted walks along the High Road looking at the architecture. At the same time, one of the prettiest buildings is about to be sacrificed! And it is a building that was paid for by local residents long ago, to house the original library. This is a crazy situation! If the Council demolishes it and creates a bland building, with no Open Space, the result will be felt for many decades and the Council will not be forgiven. It seems a very bad decision to give away local land that belongs to the Borough. However, if the Council wishes to press ahead with the new ¿Cultural Centre¿ and if the flats are vital for the whole scheme, I would beg for a curtailing of the size of the ¿Cultural Centre¿ and set it further back. This way the citizens of Willesden Green will be able remain proud of their environment and retain an Open Space between the Centre and the retained 1894 building for community benefit. (The corridor at the back of the proposed building will be unpleasant, dark and windy and never used as a gathering place for community events. It will be a miserable reminder of the result of a bad, hasty decision.)
  • 21 KINGS ROAD , London , London , NW102BP : Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing to register my concerns about the proposed plans for the re-development of the Willesden library. My objections are as follows: 1. The council have given FAR too much land to the developers. When I first read about the plan I thought it was a good idea to get developers to pay for the new building. Everyone knows we are in a recession and money is hard to come by. I mistakenly thought that the new building would be on the same footprint as the one standing now. But, the council have given far, far too much land away. 2. No space at the front of the building. By giving away so much land the developers have pushed the building too close to the High Road. I am not a fan of the old library, but I do like the fact that there is open space at the front of the building, to allow for markets, gatherings etc. By intruding on the high road the proposed development will make the High Road feel claustrophobic. Hiding the 'open space' at the back of the building is pointless and of no use to anybody. 3. The design of the building. The first design's frontage was actually quite original and would really have added something to the High Road. The design that the developers have put forward now is very uninspired and utilitarian. 4. Lack of consultation The council have really shot themselves in the foot by their initial lack of consultation. I live on Kings Road and use the centre regularly. Myself and my neighbours were not initially consulted. This has led to a REAL lack of trust between residents and the council. It now 'feels' as though you are in the pocket of the developers and by giving away so much of OUR/Brent council tax payers land, many people are rightly very angry. 5. Density of Houses / Lack of resources for new flats. I am aware that London needs new housing stock, but we ALSO NEED to build new schools to allow for the population growth. My children go to Donnington Primary School and the catchment area is now the block of flats opposite the school. I am not against the development of the library, BUT I would strongly urge you to think about how much land you are giving to the developers and to stop the building from being pushed so close to the High Road. Yours sincerely RICHARD BAILEY

  • 8 Blenheim Gardens , London , NW2 4NS : I am very surprised and shocked that the council is proposing to demolish the old library building built in 1894 that is so often included in local estate agents publicity as it is a prime example of just exactly the highly desirable edwardian properties that bring so many people to live in the mapesbury conservation area that it is part of. How can the council consider losing such a highlight of local architecture? It is instantly recognisable, part of what makes willesden green so special and should be showcased not demolished. why are they allowed to demolish a building in a conservation area when such strict laws apply to ordinary residents? It should be used as part of the new community centre as all the best architecture should be able to include and enhance existing valued buildings and if you see the plans it only takes up a fraction of the site. If the council continues to obliterate every interesting building in willesden green in the name of making money and cramming as many cheap flats onto the sites that they can they will be left with a big traffic and parking problem in an area where it is already bad. The library centre is only 23 years old so it seems like a big waste of money to be now demolishing it. it also proves that the new building may well not last that long either. the new plans do not allow for any outside community space so willesden green will lose out. where is the proposed parking for the new flats to be? buildings like the old library are still standing and looking amazing after over 100 years as they were built to last and with our local community in mind. the council is just trying to make as much money as possible without any consideration for the local community. there is very strong feeling that our wishes are not being listened to. Thousands of people feel this way. why do our opinions count for so little and why are all the decisions being made by people who do not live here??? we are the taxpayer and it seems that it counts for nothing. regards lizzy shrimpton
  • 9B Chambers Lane NW10 2RH: I object to this application and the linked application 12/1191. This is a waste of money. We have several good libraries in Brent which are being closed - money should be invested in these to keep them open. We do not need a cultural centre (sounds like a total white elephant), a cafe (there are any number of cafes on the high street), shops (no one has any money to spend), and there is plently of existing unoccupied housing stock. You should keep the existing buildings - including the lovely old library building on the roadside - and improve the facilities that already exist.
  • 54 Chatsworth Road , London , NW2 4DD : i wish to object to this application. the old library building is the finest in the street and its demolition would be a srious loss to the community in an area with few buldings of historic interset. the square outside is one of the few amenity open spaces in the area, the consultation process ahs been inadequate for such a serious development and the plans do no address the local needs for other facilities such as a bookshop etc deborah minchom
  • 1st Floor Flat 49 Kings Rd , London , NW10 2BP: I am very disappointed to learn that after the initial consultation at the library, that our comments are being ignored. The local residents, and tax-payers, are registering their disgust and protestations about the old building being demolished, and Brent is ignoring us completely. Why would residents of this area want to have a generic, boring high street, indistinguishable from any other bland high street? If I wanted that look, I would go and live in Milton Keynes - but I wanted to live in an area that had character and history -not something that resembles an educational "Academy" in the middle of the high street. Brent abandoned the current library building, stripped the old library building of any character, and now wants to anihilate the last remaining aesthetic building in the road - way to go!!
  • 22 Staverton Road , London , NW2 5HL : I cannot see the benefit to the community. Losing the current library for such a long time is not acceptable. Where would local people go to study or read? Losing the book shop would be a huge loss for the neighbourhood as would the old Library building which currently adds a richness to the High Street. the proposed new building looks appalling, made from a pre fabricated kit. A cultural centre already exists, why do we need a new one? The plans do not seem to consider the character of the current High Street.
  • 36A Sandringham Road , London , NW2 5ER : Two issues: I received notification of this planned redevelopment only yesterday (May 21) and learned also that comments have to be logged by May 28, which gives residents very little time to comment. I have no objection to the redevelopment in principle but I object to the unnecessary demolition of the old library building. Speaking to the developers this morning they stated that access to the library is awkward and is hidden from the street. Considering the size of the sign on the current building I don't agree or believe this is valid enough reason to demolish one of the few iconic buildings in Willesden Green. If this building could be retained, and premises found for the bookshop - which otherwise faces closure - I would have no objection (despite the ugliness of the building).
  • 25A Park Avenue , London , NW2 5AN : I think its disgraceful that one of the last remaining historical buildings in the area is being demolished when it could so easily be incorporated into a new design ... you just have to look around other parts of London to see numberous examples of considerate re-generation.
  • Flat 1 , 27 Harlesden Road , London , NW10 2BY: 1. Loss of a well-used car park. No alternative car parking arrangements are included in the planning application. Loss of car park will lead to decrease in number of users as the high street is already struggling with lack of car parking facilities. 2. Naming the new building a 'cultural centre' is a misnomer given that even the existing cultural facilities such as art gallery, cinema and bookshop are not given room in new building 3. The new library is much smaller than existing one. 4. Loss of open space in front which is currently used regularly for open markets and as a community space. It is our town square and the new building will lessen the community spirit in the area. 5. The new building will overwhelm the rest of the street and reduce the cultural and aesthetic value of Willesden High Road. 6. There was no consultation prior to the decision by the Council to redevelop the site and as a member of the public, I object to being railroaded into accepting what looks essentially like a cheap and nasty replacement.
  • 18B Grange Road , London , NW10 2QU: Dear Sir, We are residents of 18b Grange road nw10 2qu and are objecting the new development of houses purposed by GallifordTry opposite our house . under the right to light laws we have lived in our property for over 20 years and would strongly object to the Library selling of the land at the back to build residential properties which you will agree is illegal under the lights of rights law . I would seriously urge you not to go give permission to this development as they haven't done a light study . Please see information i have found for you to read : A Right of Light is protected in England and Wales under common law, adverse possession or by the Prescription Act 1832. Unlike right to freedom from smell and noise, a Right of Light has to be acquired before it can be enforced. Natural light is a commodity that can be bought, sold or even transferred between parties. Rights can be registered, granted by deed or simply acquired by having a minimum of 20 years enjoyment of light through a window or opening. Once a window has received over 20 years of unobstructed daylight, it automatically earns itself a Right of Light. Such rights are, for Land Registration purposes, overriding interests. They are valid whether or not they are registered on the title deeds to the property which claims the right. A development may be prevented due to a Right of Light, even if Planning Permission has been granted by the Local Authority. If a new building limits the amount of light coming in through a window and the level of light inside falls below the accepted level, then this constitutes an obstruction. Unless the owner of the affected window waives his rights he would be entitled to take legal action against the landowner if he considered that his light is being blocked. Thank you, i look forward to hearing from you. Saad Ibrahim
  • 51 Bryan Avenue , London , NW10 2AS: I do not believe we need to demolish the buildings to make a new cultural center. It seems like a great waste of energy and resources. The nearby trees would very likely be damaged or die in the process. I would probably agree with this project if it included the development of more green spaces, instead of habitation buildings.
  • 9 Osborne Road , London , NW2 5DR : The proposed new centre will involve a net loss of beneficial land use for local residents: the disappearance of vital public space in front of the current library, diminished library floorspace and disappearance of a cinema, loss of social infrastructure offered by Willesden bookshop and disappearance of public parking. There are no net gains for the local community, only for the Council (more offices) and for the private developers (proceeds from a gated residential community with private parking). The design of the proposed Cultural centre replaces the only open public space and historical landmark in the area in front of the existing library, with a dark, narrow wind-tunnel at the rear of the proposed cultural center. This will be an inhospitable tundra during the day and a mugger's delight at night. Far from delivering regeneration to the area, the Cultural center as it is currently designed will create an overbearing juggernaut of a building devoid of any historic or organic connection to the surrounding streetscape, instead snuffing out the only open, sunny space currently available to the neighborhood for markets and festivals (eg. St Patrick's parade). The proposed cultural centre has been designed without consideration for the views of local residents expressed from the very outset in the stakeholder meetings and in successive petitions against the demolition of the old library and eviction of the Willesden bookshop. An overwhelming majority of those consulted by Galliford Try expressed their substantive opposition the development and this has been disregarded in the final version of the planning application. This application should be rejected for all these reasons.
  • 9 Osborne Road , London , NW2 5DR : I am writing to express my dismay at the proposed changes to our current library centre. The current library is unloved by the Council who have failed to maintain the building well ¿ thus the proposed redevelopement. They have failed to keep the facilities on offer thriving, such as the cinema or the café area. The joyful parts are the library itself , the bookshop and the open space at the front which is often a gathering place for meetings both formal and informal the old and young. Despite the current library¿s shortcomings the new proposals will not improve the public facilities on offer. We will have an overall loss of public space and facilities and we will lose future potential to develop these underused facilities ever again. The new building is much larger than others surrounding and will blot out significant light on a much used part of the high street. The tree at the front will become dwarfed by the library and cease to be a pleasant corner in a busy inner city centre. The bookshop is a much prized feature and much loved , currently we in Willseden are proud to say we have a high street bookshop instead of just the usual betting or internet shops. The children actually have somewhere to spend their council book vouchers. Willesden library and its environs are a much used part of Willesden by all members of society and a free public space to gather or sit, the new building will mean loss of public space at the front and the gardens to be built behind will not be accessible to local children. What we have is not perfect due to some neglect , but the heart is there in that many people love and use the library and the bookshop. The new centre is not loved by the council whom see it as an economic compromise and neither will be be loved by residents because of all that we will lose.
  • 13 Kings Road , London , NW10 2BL: Having attended 2 of the public consultation forums I conclude that the only reason for this development is for the financial gain of the developer-it already appeared to be a 'done - deal'. The council have over the last few years deliberately let the existing library building deteriorate and have made little effort to use it to its full worth.In this age of environmental awareness I find it almost criminal that they are considering demolishing at building that is less than 30 years old. The wish to demolish a listed building which forms the heart of Willesden Green is an act of blatant vandalism and one which if carried out will be looked on in the future as a grave mistake. The new building does not relate to its locality in any way and could be built anywhere in the country. The space in front is lost and instead we are expected to use the 'public open space' to the rear which will be in shadow for most of day. The building is taller than the existing building which ,as well as its proximity to the High Road, will make it overbearing. The housing to the rear is too dense and will put more pressure on already overwrought services. There is almost no additional parking which I don't understand.
  • 117A High Road , London , NW10 2SL: My girlfriend and I are professionals; I am an architect and she is a retail consultant. We love living in Willesden and we love living on the High Road. We tell everyone we work with about how great an area it is to live in... All of that being said, tearing down the old library building will be a great mistake. It is ripping the heart out of the community. This will make Willesden just another faceless borough in a city of increasingly faceless boroughs and any hope of regeneration for the area will fail. Instead of tearing down Willesden Green History, the council should be embracing it and celebrating it. Please do not tear down the Old Library building. I do not know anyone in the community who supports this plan. Thank you, Matthew Park Allen
  • 117A High Road , London , NW10 2SL: Do not demolish the Old Library building. Do not demolish part of what makes Willesden special and unique. I work as a retail consultant in boroughs throughout London and Willesden is a special place. But that special quality can easily be lost if we are not careful. Tearing down the Old Library building is the first step of turning Willesden Green High Road into just another anonymous, faceless London High Street and will inevitably stop any chance of revitalising the neighbourhood. It is a terrible idea. It is the type of idea that loses elections. Thank you, Diana Grisales-Barrera
  • 33 Gowan Road , London , NW10 2SH: This development is completely out of character with the area and is not appropriate. It will mean the loss of a valuable open area which is used as a focus for community events in the area. It also seems unnecessary when we already have a perfectly good library building which houses an art gallery, museum, One Stop Shop, book shop and a number of rooms available for hire by community and cultural groups. We do not need a 92 unit residential block and associated parking crammed into such a small space. I think it is appalling that Brent Council is selling off land in exchange for the rebuilding of a building that is actually perfectly adequate. Why not just sell the car park to the developers and let them make a smaller and less intrusive estate?
  • 20A Grange Road , London , NW10 2QU: I vehemently object to this planning application (12/1190 and 12/1191) on the following grounds: 1. Having lived at my property (20 Grange Road) for 20 years, under the1959 Rights of Light Act, I have the right to continue having light through my front window. 2. The demolition of the Victorian old library building removes the only building of character in this part of Willesden. 3. The demolition of the existing library is absurd given that it is a few decades old and has recently been entirely renovated¿using money from our Council Taxes 4. The proposed new library building is extraordinarily ugly and inappropriate for its surroundings. 5. The proposed new library building is far too small for the purpose, and would represent a massive loss of functionality at a time when so many libraries have been closed. 6. The abolition of parking for the library will cause congestion on Grange Road, so that residents will be unable to park. 7. The proposed new housing does not help to mitigate the lack of affordable housing in Willeseden¿it is clearly a money-making scheme for the developer, without benefit to ordinary working people in Willesden. It will simply increase the crowding of local amenities and place further pressure on borough services. 8. Finally, I am appalled by the lack of consultation that has characterized this proposal. It has been rushed through, presumably because the developers and borough council realized that residents of Willesden¿who through their council tax pay the salaries of borough officials¿would not accept this outrageous proposal.
  • 110 Brondesbury Park , Brondesbury , London , NW2 5JR : Dear Cllr. Butt, I am a local resident who has lived in Willesden Green for the past 28 years. The library centre that your council is about to demolish has been has been a fantastic facilities to families like mine who in the early days could not afford to buy books. It defies belief that a building which was constructed less than 25 years ago is now being demolished for what seems to local residents to be totally spurious reasons. The whole consultation process has been a sham, since the council members appeared to have made up their minds and then seal the decision in stone long before we the residents knew anything of the council intentions. Brent residents pay amongst one of the highest council tax in the country and yet it seems that there is little left that we can trust our local councillors to do on our behalf. It appears that the council penalises us in every direction. The current Library centre is an important landmark in Willesden. It is one of the few public spaces that can be readily accessed by residents from a large ethnic, religious, and non religious groups, elders and those with young children. It has also been wonderful to see the number of young Brent residents over the years who has used the library to study. Many of these young people have very restricted home situations. It is accessible for wheelchair users and others with disability issues. The parking spaces behind the library is quite possibly the only parking space left in the borough where people legitimately using the libraries services can park without fear of being ticketed and/or towed away. The outside space offers residents a place to meet, relax and talk. The French and African markets which happens adds colour and choice to local people. To demolish this Library and built something on a much smaller scale, plus the addition of 90 private flats, is to further breakdown community cohesions. Brent council I believe are very shortsighted in taking this action. On one hand we listen as government and local authorities go on about 'the big society', but all evidence points to the same government and local authorities seemingly doing everything in their power to prevent communities from coming together in neutral spaces. The whole thing feels like a systematic erosion of everything that gave people a sense of belonging. Community Centres have all but disappeared and young people left to wander aimlessly on our streets. Now with huge attack on our Libraries, it is unclear what will happened to many of those young people who are determined to try and make something of their lives. The case of the disappearing libraries started with the old Kil The demolition of the Library will also deny residents a wonderful bookshop. With 90 new flats at the end of Brondesbury park, parking which can already be difficult for residents will become even more constrained. The proposed café seems highly unnecessary, given that the high street already has a number of cafés, one of which is within spitting distance of the current Library and proposed new building. The disruption to us as residents will be horrendous. Residents have protested for months. This new building with it's lack of useful facilities is not what we the residents want. I suspect that most of you councillors do not live within this communicate, so should not be in a position to dictate to us without following the proper consultation processes and without actually bothering to listen to us or take any of our views into account. I personally will not be putting an X next to any of your names in the future. Yvonne A. Bailey-Smith 110 Brondesbury Park London NW2
  • 159 Brondesbury Park , Brondesbury , London , NW2 5JL : Dear Mr. Bates, The 1:1250 Location plan submitted for this application appears to be incorrect. Can you please look into this. The site outlined in red on site plan drawing 11034-EX-0001 P01 does not include the northern part of Grange Road where the applicant is indicating tree works to the London Plane Tree, and play space. There also appear to be highways works and landscaping proposed that are in this area, including the formation of parking spaces and crossovers, and removal of trees that presumably will also require planning approval. The land I mention is not outlined in blue on the Location plan and therefore presumably not owned by the applicant. I think this creates a technical issue with the validity of the Planning Application. Can I ask you to bring this up with the applicant and ask them to serve notice on the owner of the land in Grange Road and please can I request that you re-advertise the application if the applicant serves notice on the owner of the adjacent land, for the avoidance of any doubt over the site ownership, applicant¿s proposals and validity of the Planning Application. yours sincerely Simon Watkins 159 Brondesbury Park NW2 5JL
  • 179C Brondesbury Park , Brondesbury , London , NW2 5JN : Dear Sir / Madam, please find objections to the current planning application no 12/1190: Problems of increased noise & traffic will undoubtably occur with the addition of 92 residential flats. The size of the buildings will overshadow all current buildings and have a detrimental impact on the character of the area. The destruction of the Old Library building will also have a negative impact on the character of the area. There will be a negative impact on parking in the entire area due to the additional residential properties. There will be a loss of more beneficial land uses such as the Willesden Green Library, which at the moment provides a very important community service. Please formally note my objection to the project due to the above reasons. Kind regards Hazel Davidson
  • 75 Chambers Lane , London , NW10 2RN: I believe that the proposed development will be to the detriment of the local community for these reasons: 1. The new flats take up a lot of space and will add to the existing congestion on our roads and parking areas; 2. There is insufficient parking for users at the new centre; 3. No provision has been made for the bookshop which has served the local community and Brent schools for over two decades; 4 No attempt has been made to integrate the old library into the plans, thus potentially demolishing part of the heritage of the High Road; 5. The existing library was mismanaged and allowed to fall into disused and there is no guarantee that this will not happen again in a few years, with significant cost to local taxpayers
  • 12B High Road , London , NW10 2QG: I am in favour of development of new homes but object to the demolition of the old Library building. This building has architectural significance and should be preserved. A member of the general public would struggle to get approval to make a minor change to their home in a conservation area however larger organisations seem to be able to do anything!

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