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Friday, 30 January 2015

Transport Test for Libraries

I notice that Barnet libraries have decided that a 30 minute public transport journey is a reasonable distance to go to reach your nearest library.  Lincolnshire, in their libraries consultation which was overturned by judicial review, argued that a 30 minute car journey was a reasonable test.  Both of these seem less generous than the standard adopted in Brent 's Libraries Transformation Project which saw 97% of the population within 1.5 miles of a Brent library.  Even just walking that would take an able bodied person not more than 30 minutes.  By either public transport, cycling or car it would take rather less.

Of course distance and journey time are not the only relevant tests of accessibility, but it seems to me that Brent's six library network is probably one of the most accessible in the UK.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Evidence on Community Managed Libraries

I have remarked before that community managed libraries have been widely adopted as a strategy without any real evidence that they work.  A little more has come out about the Manchester experience.  It makes gloomy reading for volunteer library advocates. 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

What Happened to Make Willesden Green?

Thinking recently about the group Make Willesden Green, I decided to check their web site to see what they were up to.  The most recent entry was dated 23 October 2014.  It consists of a number of complaints about Willesden Green Library Centre.  Since the Centre is due to open soon, I presume the group will then have no more activity. 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Query on Barham Park Trust

After yesterday's post, I thought about the report at the next Barham Park Trust agenda on changing the governance structure.  It goes through a lot of reasoning about how the current peculiar Trust structure might be changed only to recommend no change.  At a time when the Council is under increasing pressure for resources, what is the reason for generating that report?


Martin Francis has noticed the same report and commented on it here.   He seems to hope that the structure (which is itself only two or three years old) will be changed.  I certainly hope not as it sounds like another attempt by the likes of Paul Lorber to pursue their own agendas rather than a useful innovation.  It was his successful bamboozling of the Planning Committee to refuse change of use that caused the needless expense of a planning appeal.  I don't think any more of his captious objections should be accommodated. 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Barham Park Trust Developments

Further details about the buildings of the Barham Park Trust have been published
  • ACAVA now has a formal 15 year lease (starting from September), and hope to start a community arts project in March.  
  • The "Card room" is proposed to be let out as a cafe, as the earlier public consultation suggested.  From the report, it is clear that the Card room is only in a sufficiently good state of repair for leasing with substantial investment. This is why it was set aside when the decision to rent to ACAVA was made.  Park cafes work well elsewhere, in Gladstone Park or Roundwood Park for example, so I hope the Barham proposal comes off.
  • The Committee is also asked to approve a regularization of the occupation by the Veterans Club in the Snooker Room. 
  • There is also a proposal to put the Lounge area out to a permanent occupation, rather than the current ad hoc arrangements.
It strikes me as extraordinary that it should take so long to sort out these buildings.  Of course a lot of the reason is the misguided decision of the Planning Committee to refuse change of use.

Incidentally, capital funding has also been provided for outdoor gym equipment in the park.  This is the kind of incremental improvement thatis possible now that the Park has a long term strategy.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

South Kilburn District Heating

It looks like Brent Council's Executive on Monday will be asked to approve the start of a procurement process to create a district heating scheme in South Kilburn.  This is the second area where a district heating scheme might come forward (the other being Wembley), and has been a long time in the coming.  It is good to see the prospect of greater environmental benefits.