Friday, 6 July 2012

Sarah Teather 'Council must incorporate Old Library into their plans'

From Brent Lib Dems website:

Brent Central MP Sarah Teather has today said that Labour-run Brent Council must listen to local residents over plans to redevelop Willesden Green library after it was announced that the developers have withdrawn the planning application that would have led to the closure of the library for 18 months. Brent Council and the developers have said that they will now seek the community's views over the summer before submitting a new planning application later this year.

Since the plans were announced, thousands of local residents have spoken out against the plans, calling on Brent Council to preserve the locally listed Old Library building. Concerns were also raised after the Willesden Bookshop and the Brent Advisory Service (BIAS) were not been given space in the proposed development.

Additionally, despite the Council admitting there is a need for affordable, four bed family housing, 88 one and two bedroom flats built were included in the previous application with only four three-bed apartments. None of the proposed flats were due to be social or affordable housing.

There was also public outrage after the Labour Council Executive agreed the outline plans of the redevelopment before carrying out a full public consultation. These outline plans included the demolition of the Old Library building.

Commenting, Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather said:

"I welcome today's announcement that Brent Council are willing to work with local residents to improve the redevelopment plans for Willesden Green library. However, Labour leaders must show that this time they will listen to the concerns of the community and incorporate the old library building into their plans.

"The Council had previously vowed to permanently rehouse BIAS and the Willesden Bookshop, but have so far failed to live up their promises. Hopefully this delay will give them time to find these valuable local resources new homes.

"The previous plans were desperately short-sighted. Any new proposals must meet the needs of the community and I will be watching carefully to make sure this is the case."

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