SAVE NORTH KENSINGTON LIBRARY FOR PUBLIC USE
This petition had 654 supporters
The council is planning to close this historic building on Ladbroke Grove and allow a private prep school to take it over.
We the undersigned call on the Council to keep North Kensington Library building on Ladbroke Grove in public use.
We call on the leader of the Council to:
- Attend a public meeting to hear our concerns about the aforementioned lease; to answer questions over plans and dealings with ALL public and community space in North Kensington; and to address concerns about the lack of consultation and transparency in the decision making process.
- Hold a public consultation on how the building should be used if it is not to continue as a library – giving us the chance to put forward our own proposals for the building making use of the long history of creativity in the area.
We demand that:
- The council's cash reserves are used to keep a historically important building in public use.
- The council's planning committee considers 'community access' as a factor in ascertaining 'best value' in their application of section 123 of the 1972 Local Government Act which requires that 'a council shall not dispose of land under this section …. for a consideration less than the best value that can reasonably be obtained'.
The council has justified its decision on grounds of disability access and structural defects. We reject both these grounds:
* The building has disabled access and lifts and we believe public funds should be used NOT to build a new library, but to update the current library AND repair any structural defects.
* The Council has yet to present any evidence that the building cannot be upgraded and used as an up-to-date library facility and community hub; it is unlikely that the Prep School would be prepared to take on the lease of a building that they were not able to upgrade.
The Library is reportedly used by over 15,000 (1) visitors a month.
The building – the first public library to be built in Kensington – is a shining symbol of community life. Its key location provides a vital sense of belonging and social cohesion to people in the area.
There was NO consultation with the public about the decision (2) to transfer the library services and close the building to the public.
We think the building an asset of community value, which since the Localism Act 2011, is a status that can be recognised in law.
1. “well-used facility with over 15,000 visitors a month” Cllr Emma Will, the Royal Borough’s cabinet member for libraries
2.“Residents were not consulted specifically about the provision of a new library” Martin Mortimer Senior Development Surveyor
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council
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