A LEGAL protection placed on a former library building in Kensal Rise could prove to be irrelevant.
Kensal Rise, Bathurst Gardens, was one of six libraries closed by Brent Council in 2011 and library users have been campaigning since then for the right to run a volunteer-led library in the same building.
The building was listed as a community asset by Brent Council on December 12 last year, which would legally restrict the sale of the building.
All Souls College, Oxford, the legal owners of the building, made a deal with a developer on November 26, just over two weeks before the community listing came into effect, however, a Brent Council spokesman said the community listing was irrelevant.
He said: “Having considered the information provided by the All Souls College solicitors it currently appears to the council that the restrictions on sale in the Localism Act do not apply to this particular case.”
The Friends of Kensal Rise claim Farrer and Co, the law firm representing All Souls, are withholding the actual agreement between the college and developer Andrew Gillick.
Margaret Bailey, chairperson of the Save Kensal Rise Library campaign, said: “We believe that the council cannot properly satisfy itself that the agreement the college has with the developer to purchase Kensal Rise Library is a binding agreement without seeing the document itself.”
Under the agreement with the developer, the Friends would be offered space in the library rent-free.
A spokesman for All Souls said: “We have never done anything underhand or illegal. Our lawyers have assured the council and Friends that they know all they need to know.
“We have offered them 1,500 sq ft of space and we hope that will be looked at in a positive way, but they have decided to continue the fight. They need to wake up and smell the coffee and realise they are being offered a library.”
A meeting will be held between Brent Council’s lawyers and the Friends to determine whether the council needs to see the documentation to satisfy legal requirements under the Localism Act.