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Saturday, 25 June 2016

Democratic Debate and Libraries

As we all look forward to the Brexit recession, an old story has come up again _ libraries.  An anonymous commentator has suggested that the undemocratic nature of the developments in South Kilburn, which I criticised the other day, are similar to the arrangements around the Libraries Transformation Project

South Kilburn is going through what is described as a "fundamental review" without any public debate at all.  Indeed I am not sure that even councillors are involved.  

The Libraries Transformation Project went through a whole series of discussions.  these included several public meetings when I presented the proposals, a number when council officers presented to specific groups, a questionnaire that elicited more than three thousand responses, the entire gamut of official decision making meetings that lasted from November to May, and where members of the public spoke, coverage not just in the local and national media, but also in the international media and a full blown judicial review.  It therefore had more publicity and discussion than any other Brent Council decision that I know of.

By contrast, South Kilburn could be drastically reshaped without anyone taking official responsibility and without the residents or their representatives being involved.

That is quite a contrast.

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