Plans have been submitted to build a new controversial North Kensington Library and youth centre .
Kensington and Chelsea Council claims the new library, which would be built on existing youth centre buildings in Lancaster Road, would offer bigger and better services to users.
The local authority has argued that the current 126-year-old North Kensington Library, based 50 metres away from the proposed new site in Ladbroke Grove , is no longer fit for purpose.
However, the council has been accused of asset stripping after it emerged it plans to lease the current library building to nearby fee-paying Notting Hill Prep School.
Opponents to the scheme want it to remain in public use.
It led to a " Public Not Private" rally which culminated in a protesters occupying the council chamber during a council meeting last June.
The asset-stripping allegation has been vehemently opposed by the council , who argue the new building will benefit library and youth services provisions.
The council said highlights of the scheme include:
- A larger library floor space – 829 sq m (compared with a current area of 580 sq m) to accommodate an improved selection of books, magazines and newspapers, a reading room and informal activity space
- The new library arranged all on the ground floor making it easier for wheelchair users, buggies and people with reduced mobility to navigate.
- More meeting rooms and spaces for adult education classes and local organisations to use.
- More quiet study space and a dedicated children’s library
- Comfortable seating and natural light throughout
- Excellent Wi-Fi and IT
- Access to refreshment facilities
- Public toilets with baby change facilities
- An improved youth centre
- A rooftop games area for sport and recreation, with dedicated changing facilities available for building users and the wider community
- A range of energy efficiency measures to reduce maintenance and running costs
The application has been entered following consultation in 2016 which saw a series of drop-in events, workshops and exhibitions .
Watch Public Not Private campaigners take over a council meeting
The building, designed by architects Piercy&Company, will include commercial space which the council plans to lease out.
The council claims money generates by the lease will provide much needed income to help protect frontline services.
If granted planning permission, construction of the new building should start during summer 2017, with the new library opening by 2020.
The current library would remain open until the new one, just 50 metres away on Lancaster Road, is ready for use.
Opened in 1891, the building was once regarded as one of London’s finest public libraries. It is used by 15,000 people a month.
Last year, Green London Assembly member Sian Berry signed a petition calling for the library to remain in public use while campaign for the London Mayoral elections.
Kensington and Chelsea entered the application, which is expected to be heard at a planning meeting at Kensington Town Hall in March.
Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app
You can even set it to receive push notifications for all the breaking news in your area