The financial mismanagement of Brent Council continues unabated. The cost of refurbishing Kilburn library has gone up from £117,000 to £650,000 – an extra £half million has been found to upgrade one of the least-used libraries in Brent.
The original figure formed part of the Library Transformation Plan that new leader Mo Butt is determined to see through. That figure was therefore approved by the executive when they voted for closure last year.
In just 18 months, the figure has increased five-fold. No justification for the increase has been put forward by Brent Council.
Kilburn Library, which exists on the edge of the borough and is used by non-Brent residents, was kept open last year despite having far fewer users or book loans than Preston. The refurbishment is designed to artificially boost its fortunes, while library users elsewhere in the borough have been deprived of services.
The extra half million, a five fold increase on the original figure, is on a par with the £500,000 that will be spent putting Willesden Green’s books into storage (as opposed to making them available for users at exisitng libraries). That £1 million could have kept all six closed libraries going for several more years.
Add this to another £3 million being spent to replace the Town Hall library, it is clear that Brent is NOT facing the budgetary pressures it has been pleading in court.
Furthermore, as we reported last year, the closure of Willesden Green and Kilburn for lengthy periods means that we now have 4 libraries where there used to be 12.