A CAMPAIGN to save the old Hayes Library building has begun after Hillingdon Council deemed it 'surplus to requirements.'
The century-old council-owned building, in Golden Crescent, closed last June ahead of the opening of the Botwell Green Sports and Leisure Centre, which contains its own modern library.
At a cabinet meeting on April 14, councillors will 'consider options for selling it on the open market', leaving it vulnerable to future development and demolition.
A petition against the proposals is currently being drawn up, and Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell is hoping to rally the community in the fight against the sell-off.
Mr McDonnell said: "There are a wide range of community groups that want to use this centre for their activities and were meeting to put their ideas to the Council for the use of this precious building. Now they feel really let down.
"This building is a much loved part of our local heritage, and for the Council to even consider selling it off is a betrayal of our local community. The people of Hayes paid for this building and will not allow it to be stolen from us by this Council. If we have to occupy our old library to stop this municipal vandalism, we will."
It was originally a mission church built in the late 1800s, on land owned by the wealthy Shackles family who had a monopoly on property and business in the Botwell area well into the 21st century. It was extended in 1938 and turned into a community library.
The site now features on the borough's 'local list' of buildings of architectural or historic importance.
Jasvir Singh Rayat, 60, of Hunters Grove, is treasurer of the Hayes Garden Village Residents Association.
He said: "We are very angry and shocked that the council have taken matters into their own hands, and not told residents about this. This historical site should be preserved, and made available to community groups for the benefit of everybody. We hope that the council listen to what we have to say."
In response, Hillingdon Council Leader Ray Puddifoot said: "The former Hayes Library is no longer required and as it is a council asset, Cabinet will be deciding how best to make use of it, bearing in mind the current financial climate and the needs of the borough's residents.
"At a time when other councils are closing libraries, our library modernisation plan will see all of the borough's 17 libraries rebuilt or refurbished by 2014."
There will be a street stall in Hayes town centre today (Wednesday, March 30) at 12am, collecting signatures for the petition. A public meeting on the issue is taking place later that evening, at 8pm at Botwell Youth Centre, in Botwell Lane.
What do you make of the news? Will you be attending the meetings? Email firstname.lastname@example.org