After years of controversy developers have finally secured the right to transform Kensal Rise Library into flats with a community space.
Brent Council's planning committee approved the planning application to turn the Victorian building in Bathurst Gardens, Kensal Rise into five flats with a community space, on Wednesday (July 16).
Campaigning group, Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL) have been fighting a long battle to keep the building as a library- although there will be flats built, the community space in the building will be run by the FKRL and have been named as the 'actual' tenants.
Margaret Bailey from FKRL said: "The Friends of Kensal Rise Library are pleased and relieved that they have been named the 'actual' tenants of the community space at the planning meeting - also relieved that the planning application has been approved.
"Being named as the 'actual' rather than 'preferred' tenant makes our position much more secure and, an issue that we have negotiated over for some months. The campaign has been a long one and there have been many obstacles to overcome."
After months of negotiations and proposals the developer and the building’s owner Andrew Gillick, of Kensal Properties Ltd, will now convert it in to five residential units, down from seven in the previous application, with a community space on the ground floor, which will be 186 square metres.
Ownership of the building passed back to Oxford college All Souls after the library was closed and stripped of its books by Labour-run Brent Council in October 2011.
The college sold it to Mr Gillick, and he took vacant possession of the building on January 31 after FKRL’s pop-up library outside was taken down.
A previous planning application to redevelop the library was refused by the planning committee and the building is listed as an asset of community value.
Margaret Bailey added: "We are looking forward to concentrating our efforts on providing a great library and community space for our community.
"There is still a lot of work to do and there is no doubt there are challenging times ahead, but there is such goodwill and support in the community that we are positive we can make this happen."
Lead member for regeneration and housing at Brent Council, Councillor Margaret McLennan said: “We are delighted that community use remains at the heart of this much loved building as well as providing additional housing in the area.
“Through the change programme, we are fiercely proud that we have been able to improve our remaining libraries including investing significantly in new books and technology as well as providing a place for people to study and learn. In 2013, our visitor and borrowing numbers were up on the previous year, bucking the national trend for public libraries. "