Labour Leader Councillor Ann John and her Labour Executive have been accused of giving away two taxpayer paid for buildings worth £1.5 million without lifting a finger to prevent their loss.
The transfer of Kensal Rise Library and Cricklewood Library to All Souls College has deprived the local community of facilities valued at £1.5m by Brent Council officers. According to the report presented to the Executive on 15 November 2010 (section 4.2) Kensal Rise Library has a building market value of £772,034 and Cricklewood Library has a value of £724,765.
The buildings were erected on land provided by All Souls College Oxford using funds contributed by Willesden Urban District Council taxpayers, a donation from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and public donations. The terms of the land transfer meant that local people could use the land to provide libraries for ever for the benefit of local people.
Despite explicit assurances from All Souls College that it was open to the idea of members of the community providing library services from the two buildings under the umbrella of Brent Council, the Labour councillors responsible for closing half of Brent’s libraries have been determined to see the end of book borrowing at Kensal Rise and Cricklewood.
Labour councillors refused to respond positively to the well thought out bid from local residents to run their own Volunteer Library at no cost to the Council. As a result assets worth in excess of £1.5 million were lost to the Brent community and reverted back to All Souls College – not to mention the damage done to the community by the closure of the libraries.
The loss of these two buildings is massive blow to the people of Kensal Rise and Cricklewood and a massive financial loss to the Council. I wonder if the Labour Councillors would have given up so easily on buildings worth more than £1.5 million if it was their own money at stake?
said Liberal Democrat council group leader Paul Lorber.
This is yet another example of Labour’s waste. The council is still paying the £55,000 per year rent due on Neasden Library and the costs of rates and security at other empty library buildings in Brent.