Dear ACAVA Trustees
Re: Barham Park Library and Buildings
I refer to my email from February and subsequent exchanges.
As you know one of the buildings you propose to lease in Barham Park is a former library which served the local Community for almost 60 years. Local residents are angry at the closure of their library and will oppose the recently submitted planning application for change of use from D1 (community facility) to B1.
There is no demand in the local area for 29 artist studios and there is strong feeling that the ACAVA intervention is depriving the local community of their library for ever.
There is also concern that ACAVA have requested 24 hour access to the proposed artist studio units and the fact that according the Council Officer planning application there is a desire to attract artists from outside of the area and outside of Brent.
The property is near residential housing and any 24 hour visitors will inevitable park in the service roads right outside the residential properties opposite. This will inevitably result in some disturbance to local people.
While I appreciate that ACAVA is involved in bringing back into use empty buildings for which there is no current alternative use, this is not the position in the case of Barham Park. There is both a need and demand for a community library in Barham Park and a great deal of public support for this.
Friends of Barham Library already operate a volunteer library from temporary premises in Wembley High Road and we are just about to open a 2nd facility from small shop premises at Sudbury Town Underground Station a few minutes away from Barham Park. Tfl have granted us an affordable lease as part of their social responsibility policies.
Neither premises are big enough for a proper library and together with local people we continue to campaign to get back into the closed Barham Park Library. This campaign will continue even after ACAVA occupation of the building.
It is unfortunate that our efforts are being blocked by another Charity which proposes to provide a service that local people have never asked for and do not see a local need for.
You need to be aware therefore that there will be a local campaign to STOP Brent Council pursuing the current planning application and the lease to ACAVA and that on change of control of Brent Council the lease arrangement are likely to be reviewed.
The Barham Park buildings are big enough to accommodate shared use including a community library of a suitable size.
In view of this and to mitigate any reputation risks I would urge ACAVA to reconsider your approach to the Barham Park Buildings, and withdraw your interest in the library part of the building.
Friends of Barham Library