I had a really good look around Willesden Library’s new building yesterday (I hope we go with ‘cultural centre’ as a name).
Despite the otherwise justifiable feelings of unfairness around the accommodation at the back, this has meant we can find a really improved public building that is a lot greener and generally better designed than the old centre, which had had it’s day, in my view. This is one of very few cases where a development lacking on affordability made sense, because we get some great gains for the wider community in return in a better building that will last for decades.
It is one of those projects where better engagement and involvement with the community from the Council would have gone a long way – so our councillors will be pushing for local people to be at the heart of running this going forward.
Not many councils are building things like this these days (thanks to the coalition) , and I don’t think under this kind of pressure that it should be beyond socialists to piggy-back on the private sector if there are clear limits and it gets residents a good deal. We remain in charge.
The new building has increased floor space, customer service for residents looking for help with benefits and council services, an arts space, computers and wifi, study space, and hopefully a cafe.
We’re looking at late summer to have it complete.