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Wednesday 11 February 2015

The Benefits of the New Willesden Library Centre

As the date for the opening of Willesden Green's new Library Centre approaches, I regret that the Council is not more on the ball in communications.  The available data online is out of date in various ways.  This is frustrating as a number of the usual suspects are eager to portray the project as negatively as possible.  I have never understood why people who claim to be in favour of public services seem to spend most of their time claiming that the said public services are terrible.  In Brent, the libraries have had the most abuse in this way, but it seems to be true of all local government, and indeed the NHS. 

In the case of Willesden Green Library, this includes the failings of the old Library Centre.  It had numerous problems.  It had been designed with a poor exterior which minimised its attractiveness, and thereby undermined its potential for regeneration and activities within it.  I suspect that this is a key reason for the failure of both the Cinema and the Cafe.  The poor sound insulation helped ensure that the community space was unusable for its original purpose of musical performance.  It also suffered from poor environmental standards that meant it was more expensive to heat than it need have been. 

The new Willesden Centre will  have far higher building standards, a better relationship with the wider public realm, a series of community spaces,a rebuilt Museum, a Brent Archive with climate controlled storage, modern access to Brent Council customer services, a cafe, and of course a big new Willesden Library.

I have made these and similar points before.  I wish the Council's communications team were more effective in publicising the benefits for both Willesden and the wider area. 

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