Having convinced the government and the judiciary that there is NO MONEY FOR LIBRARIES, and that cuts will now be made in essential services, Brent has found £420,000 extra to give to Ward Working, a fund that local councillors spend on grafitti workshops, noticeboards and flowerbeds.
It costs under £400,000 to keep open all 6 libraries closed last year. Less if efficiencies were made. At tonight’s budget meeting, Leader Ann John announced the same amount would now be available Ward Working, raising it’s budget from £800,000+ to more than £1.2 million each year.
Despite thousands of complaints, the DCMS has said it will not investigate the library closures in Brent.
They met Brent Council in June, but have refused to speak to us, or hear our (ample) evidence. Now, after a letter from our legal team challenging their year-long silence on the matter, they have finally spoken.
We have until Thursday March 1 to challenge this provisional decision. Email them (using info below) – firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read more about their reasons on Martin Francis’s excellent blog – Wembley Matters
Here is their full response plus an edited version of the letter we sent them – DCMS & Brent Libraries
Tell the DCMS:
- Do you think the consultation was adequate?
- Did they take into account the needs of library users?
- What has been the effect of closure on your family?
Some useful facts:
Pay parking is killing Preston Road, an area that already has no library, no health services, no council services, no sport centre, no adult education services.
Wembley shoppers driven away by increased parking charges and over zealous ticketing
Tara Brady, Wembley Times
This could be the future of the borough’s shopping parades as businesses struggle to survive against increased parking charges and over-zealous ticketing.
Over the past two years Brent Council has been accused of bringing misery to traders and drivers by introducing pay and display across all shopping areas.
It has also increased residential parking permits by up to 300 per cent in some cases in Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) depending on the size of the car’s engine.
But now the Times can reveal that the income from parking fees will be £1.3million less than expected as drivers avoid the highger charges.
However, at the same time the local authority is expected to make an extra £2million than it first budgeted for from parking fines.
Read the rest here.
Like last year, not-quite-World Book Day events won’t be coming to Preston. And we’re not even sure it’s coming to Wembley full stop.
The loss-making Brent Magazine this month proclaims Ealing Road Library to be the top venue for the events on March 1. Yet on the previous page we have just been told it will be closed for improvements between 27 Feb and 26 March.
So will Ealing Road be open or closed on March 1? Should you traipse across town to another closed library? Brent has a habit of closing libraries on a whim.
What is especially galling is:
1. Brent Magazine runs at a loss of £1000+ every month. Further, the advertising that supposedly pays for it, comes from Brent COuncil departments. And many people don’t even receive it.
2. Ealing Road may be being improved, but its not being extended, nor parking added. So it is just as overcrowded and inaccessible as ever.
3. Preston will never get library events. We pay for them though. We have to have our own events
With thanks to the fair Geraldine.
The Great Scot, Robert Burns will be with us in spirit on Saturday 11 February.
Poetry, dancing and a tipple at the Preston Mall Community Centre from 7.30pm
Come to the Mason’s Lodge in Northwick Park Circle TODAY to discuss plans for a Community Library