CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save theWillesden Green Library Centre from a major overhaul stepped upcampaign efforts by creating a physical barrier around the building andgathering thousands of signatures.
Dozensof local people surrounded the centre on Saturday, on the second day ofa two-day exhibition to display the plans for a new cultural centre tothe public.
On Monday, apetition to save the library from demolition was handed in at the BrentCouncil officers with more than 5,000 signatures.
CampaignerMartin Redston said the exhibition was 'woefully inadequate'. He alsoclaims to have not met anyone who is in agreement with the plans.
Headded: "People are concerned because the new building might look intotheir gardens, the library space looks like it will be smaller, and itis a cherished local building. The general feeling is that there hasn'tbeen enough consultation, and it doesn't make sense that the councilcannot make improvements to the current centre."
The 'Keep Willesden Green' campaign has now joined the Brent SOS (Save our Six) Libraries group.
Membersof Brent SOS have been tirelessly battling for more than a year to tryto keep six libraries open, which Brent Council closed due tospiralling financial pressures.
This takes the campaign from Save our Six Libraries to Save Our Seven Libraries.
Thenews comes as The Victorian Society, a national charity campaigning forthe Victorian and Edwardian historic environment, has raised concernsabout the loss of the building, which is locally listed.
The society has written to Brent Council urging it to rethink its proposals.
Spokesmanfor the society, James Hughes, said: We want to see the council take amore imaginative and sustainable approach to this key site, as the lossof the Victorian library is unnecessary and wasteful. It should bepossible to build a new cultural centre while retaining this importantreminder of Willesdens heritage.
ABrent Council spokesman said: Whenever possible, the council willalways strive to retain buildings of historical importance and value.However, the current financial climate, a growing population and thedemand for better, more efficient council services means we have tomake difficult decisions about what is in the wider interest of peopleliving in Brent.
Thecampaign development comes as All Souls College in Oxford, hasreportedly given the community permission to run a volunteer-ledservice at the closed library building in Kensal Rise.
Ifthe building is not used as a library, a legal covenant states that thefreehold of the building would revert to college, which is the originaldonors of the land.
Localcampaigners have been proposing a community-run service since theplanned closure of Kensal Rise Library was announced in November 2010.
Thecollege is said to have contacted the council expressing that it ishappy for the community to run the library as proposed in a businessplan submitted to the council by Friends of Kensal Rise Library.
All Souls College were not available to comment as the Observer went to press.
Aspokesman for Brent Council said: The council currently remains incorrespondence with All Souls College for the purposes of clarifyingmatters relating to Kensal Rise Library.