Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Springtime and random cross thoughts

Ready for a mixture of spring blossom and angry writing? I thought so. Here goes

There's so much to be cross about right now - the budget, the ever widening pay gap, the libraries - you've heard about the Willesden Green Library centre rumpus I suppose? It's the usual story in Brent - despite the wishes of the local community the council is set on a course of destruction. This time of the original Victorian reading room, and the Library Centre - to be replaced with flats and a much smaller library. You'll remember that this particular library is heavily used for studying, so it needs to have plenty of space for students. But of course when Brent set young people as a priority that's something different altogether - it doesn't mean something practical like making sure there's study space available

 "All our services will enable local people to fulfill their potential and improve their quality of life. Public resources will be used creatively and wisely to produce lasting benefits for our residents and the borough" 

Er, right. This is from Brent's Corporate Strategy 2010-14. I've tried to read the whole document, but I really can't make myself - it's a load of idealistic drivel about supporting young people, creating a network of modern and fit for purpose libraries in high quality buildings in convenient locations across the borough. How few libraries make up a network? 4, 5? Could 6 possibly be a network?

And something else that caught my eye. Who do you think this was quoted in the Kilburn Times supporting the residents of St Raphaels estate whose local bus now bypassess them: "It was great to see so many people from the community coming together to campaign for something that affects a lot of people...I think TfL has agreed to meet with them again so it's fantastic that they have got them to listen" Can you think of any other long running recent campaign in Brent where residents came together to campaign for something that affects a lot of people? And where it would have been fantastic if the decision maker had listened? Answer at the end. Enjoy some more blossom first.

Yes, you guessed it! Our very own Brent Council leader, Ann John, throwing herself behind the residents' campaign. Even more amusingly, Tfl claimed to have carried out a "detailed review and consultation" - does that sound familiar too?- but Ann John's comment on that is not recorded. I'd love to know whether she thought it was an adequate consultation and whether TfL should have taken any notice of the views expressed.

One bit of good news though - All Souls College, Oxford (to whom Kensal Rise library would "revert" if it ceased to be used as a library) have indicated that they would be happy for the library to be run by a community group

This blossom was in a van - but I like it!

 More soon - like What Happened to Frugal February?

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