0800 298 7040
You may wish to visit Brent Council’s webpage for this exciting redevelopment project, which gives further details and provides answers to a number of additional questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Brent Council redeveloping the Willesden Green Library Centre (WGLC)?
Brent Council has identified WGLC as its main customer facing hub in the south of the borough.
The council is committed to delivering customer services in buildings fit for the 21st century. High quality, modern, bright, sustainable, flexible, efficient buildings which are accessible to all and actively welcome people from all of Brent’s diverse communities. In order to achieve this, the WGLC needs to be redeveloped into a building of comparable quality to the new civic centre currently being built in the North.
Although the WGLC is extremely popular and well used, the centre is not fit for purpose. It was built in the 1980s, when standards were not as high as they are now.The building needs a substantial amount of investment to bring it up to the required standards. The physical condition of WGLC is poor.
The WGLC cannot be transformed into a building fit for the 21st century through refurbishment only, to achieve our ambitious vision the existing building needs to be demolished and replaced with a new high quality state of the art building and services.
Why doesn’t the council just refurbish the existing WGLC?
Refurbishing the existing WGLC would not create a building which met with our vision of delivering customer services in a modern, state of the art facility fit for the 21st Century. A property survey undertaken in 2009 identified that the following essential repairs are required: replace existing plant, repairs to the facade, roof, windows and the installation of IT cabling throughout the building.
Completing these repairs would require a substantial initial investment to merely ensure the building was brought in line with minimum building standards and the council has no surplus money available to pay for the cost of refurbishing the existing building.
Therefore the council is only able to fund the cost of the new building by allowing developers to build homes for sale at the back of the library. The comprehensive redevelopment of the site is the only way the council can deliver the much needed new state of the art building at no cost to the tax payer.
Why Galliford Try?
The council entered into a development agreement with Galliford Try Plc to redevelop the WGLC. Galliford Try is one of the UK’s leading housebuilding and construction groups, and is listed on the FTSE 250. The company has significant experience in regeneration and construction for both public and private sector clients, with a well-balanced spread of work. The company prides itself on its exceptional portfolio of landmark projects.
When will the Willesden Green Library Centre close for redevelopment?
Although the planning application to redevelop the Library Centre was approved in February 2013, the dates for closure of the current Library Centre are not yet fixed.
The project website will provide detailed information on the closure programme as it is confirmed, as well as detailed information on where and how services can be accessed whilst the centre is closed.
When is the new cultural centre due to open?
The new cultural centre is due to be open in spring 2014.
How can the council afford to redevelop the WGLC when they are closing other libraries?
The WGLC redevelopment project is a self financing scheme. The council have procured a developer partner to deliver a new cultural centre at no cost to the council in return for developing residential units on the remainder of the site for market sale.
The project will therefore not require any direct capital investment from the council.
Will the locally listed building be removed to enable redevelopment?
The approved planning application retains the old library building as part of the new Cultural Centre.
What will happen to the Willesden bookshop/Brent Artist Resource & Brent Irish Advisory Service when the WGLC is closed?
Neither the Willesden Bookshop, Brent Artist Resource (BAR) nor Brent Irish Advisory Service (BIAS) provides core council services; the council therefore has no statutory obligation to find them alternative accommodation. The council will however offer them assistance to try and secure alternative premises within the borough.
Will the Willesden bookshop/BAR& BIAS be located in the new cultural centre?
No, the council has not provided the Willesden Bookshop, BIAS or BAR with any designated space within the new cultural centre.
Why can’t the council find alternative accommodation for the bookshop, BAR & BIAS through the Outer London Fund project?
Funding from the Outer London Fund (OLF) Project cannot not be used for this. The OLF money is provided by the Greater London Authority and can only be used for the things it was allocated for, which is to animate the High Street and create wider social and economic benefits for residents, traders and local organisations in the area.
The OLF grant funding agreement stipulates that all the money must be spent by March 2012. The OLF project therefore cannot provide the bookshop, BAR or BIAS with alternative accommodation.
For further information about OLF New Windows on Willesden Green please refer to the project website: www.willesdenwindows.com
Where can I access services when the WGLC is closed?
Brent has prepared a number of temporary measures that will ensure many of the functions currently provided at the WGLC continue during the build.
Full details of the interim service delivery strategy, which outline how and where services can be accessed when the WGLC is closed, will be made available on the project webpage in due course.
A temporary lending library facility will be provided in the Grange Road offices which are conveniently located next to the current library. The location will be well sign-posted. Through this easily accessible location customers will be able to access the full collection of six million books with an improved reservation service. Whilst the library will house a reduced collection of stock, further premises are being investigated in the Willesden area.
Day to day, during the temporary closure, we will promote the study facilities already available at nearby libraries, Vale Farm and Bridge Park Sports Centres. We have also organised a minimum of 50 spaces on a day to day basis:
Further online services will be introduced including extra e-books, a new virtual enquiry service, additional reference resources, brand new online courses and more virtual reading groups. These improvements will be backed up with a communications plan to market the services and to train and support customers in confidently using these services.
During the redevelopment, Brent Museum will adopt a strategy of outreach work across Brent, an enhanced online presence and pop up exhibitions.
In order to provide the Customer Contact Centre service the council is looking to reach an agreement to work in partnership with the Job Centre Plus and provide a customer service access point from the Harlesden JCP. Combining the delivery of these complimentary services under one roof provides an opportunity to make things easier for Brent’s residents who need these services.
The project website will have regular updates on the project: www.brent.gov.uk/regeneration
Follow us on twitter @Will_GreenCC
We have also established a free phone information line available to anyone wishing to discuss the project, which will be manned during office hours 0800 298 7040.
What consultation has been carried out to date on this project?
The brief for the Cultural Centre was developed in consultation with stakeholders in February to May 2011. The target audiences were:
Willesden Green Library Centre Users: A small number of library users were contacted via the citizens panel and library user group.
Willesden Green Library Centre Occupants: Staff who deliver services within the WGLC
Councillors: Willesden & Brondesbury Park Ward Councillors, Lead Member for Regeneration & Major Projects , Lead Member for Culture & Neighbourhoods
The results of this consultation were used to develop a brief for the new building and this brief was used as part of a competitive tender process to find a developer partner to work with to deliver the scheme.
With the development agreement entered into, public consultation on the design was launched. This consultation gave an opportunity for stakeholders and local residents to comment on the proposed designs for the new Cultural Centre which had been developed by the architects.
Consultation was launched in February with 1-2-1 meetings and then two public exhibitions were held in the WGLC in March and May 2012.
The originally submitted planning application was then withdrawn by Galliford Try in July 2012 to allow further time for consultation around the design, including what the building will look like and what activities will take place in and around the building. A series of workshops were held in August and September 2012.
Who are the architects for the new development?
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) are the architects for the Cultural Centre, this award winning practice has recently completed the new Barking Learning Centre providing library facilities, a one-stop-shop, café, art gallery and classrooms for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and also the Westminster Academy at the Naim Dangoor Centre which was shortlisted for the 2008 Stirling Prize.
How big is the new development compared to the existing centre?
This information has been prepared and is available on the Proposals tab.
Will the new Cultural Centre have a café?
Yes. A high quality café will be provided. This will provide a selection of food and drinks through counter service. The purpose of the café is to encourage people to “dwell” in the building rather than leave when hungry; it is also intended to provide a welcoming and social character to the cultural centre and can service meetings and events.
Will the new cultural centre have any parking?
No. The new development itself will be car free. Residents and visitors will be encouraged to use sustainable forms of transport including walking, cycling and public transport. The new cultural centre will be extremely well connected, the site will be serviced by Willesden Green Tube Station and seven (7) bus routes –nos 52,98,206,260,266,302 and 460.
A vehicular pick up and drop off bay will be provided. There will also a small amount of designated disabled car parking spaces and two designated mother and baby car parking spaces.
What are the “creative clusters”?
The scheme proposes a set of flexible interconnected spaces which can support the delivery of a broad range of creative and community activities including arts, performance, celebrations and gatherings and meetings. In the creative hub we will hope to balance a good focus on local work with bringing in excellence to inspire audiences and artists alike. All spaces will be available to hire on an hourly to monthly basis, as individual spaces, in combinations or as a whole.
The three spaces are summarised below:
• Large Space: Occupancy 300 people standing, 100 people seating, 75-90 in a workshop
• Medium space: Occupancy 200 people standing, 67 people seated watching performances, 50-60 in a workshop
• Small space: Occupancy 100 people standing, 30-40 in a workshop
Will the new centre cater for all ethnicities equally?
The new cultural centre will ensure that the council services meet the varied individual needs and expectations of local people and that everyone has equal access to services, regardless of their race, heritage, gender, religious or non-religious belief, nationality, family background, age, disability or sexuality.
In addition the services provided within the new cultural centre will be relevant, responsive, sensitive and delivered in a fair and equitable way. The cultural centre activities will be programmed to ensure opportunities are provided to promote local work and grow local audiences, through activities like; reading groups, taster sessions and community food markets.
Who are the architects for the new development?
Architecture 519 are the architects for the residential development.
How many units are being proposed for the residential development?
92 units are being proposed in the current designs.
When is the residential development going to be complete?
The construction for the residential development is due for completion in the summer of 2014.
What car parking provision is there for the residential development?
There are 60 parking spaces proposed for the residential development to be located in a sub basement under the residential blocks.
• 1 bed units- 0 spaces
• 2 bed units- 1 space
• 3 bed units- 2 spaces
New residents will not be able to apply for a parking permit for surrounding streets so the development will result in no changes to ‘on street’ parking arrangements.
Is there going to be affordable housing within the residential development?
No. The WGLC redevelopment project is a self financing scheme. The council have procured a developer partner to deliver a new cultural centre at no cost to the council in return for developing residential units on the remainder of the site for market sale. The developers are not proposing to provide any affordable housing as part of this residential development.