Let THINK remind our readers of a story. The story concerned our North Kensington community, coming together a to fight against our council to save our local North Kensington Library. Please read our post from last year:
Happy ending? But this was not actually the end of the story as our community had still only received a verbal agreement from the council that our library was safe!
Today, at long last, Friends of North Kensington Library have received written confirmation that our library will remain here as a library and do so for many years to come. This really is a happy ending this time.
We thank the Friends of North Kensington Library and everyone from in and around our community and beyond who supported the campaign to save North Kensington Library.
THINK will end this story with a happy ending (for good this time) and leave our readers with the written guarantee and a reminder to RBKC and the Government that our North Kensington community will also continue to fight strong campaigns over Wornington College, our 23 acres of land around the Westway, Canalside House and our social housing. We may be able to happily close the book over our battle to save the library, but this isn’t over…..
But for now we can at least have a concrete guarantee of a happy ending for the future of North Kensington Library – a real victory for the community!
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
Following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower in June 2017 the leadership group at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (“the Council”) announced a new resolve to engage fully with the community in North Kensington and to start to develop a new culture of trust, where the voice and views of local people are placed at the centre of all decisions. As a clear expression of that resolve the Council has agreed to make this firm commitment, on 20 October 2018, regarding the future of the North Kensington Library at 108 Ladbroke Grove, London, W11 1PZ (the “Library”).
The Council has listened to the community and understands that the Library provision and the building in which it is located is much valued and cherished. It is a public resource that has supported the community since 1891. Having listened and reflected on previous plans, the Council is now committed to ensure that the Library, a recognised community asset, continues to provide the local community with high quality library services. For clarity, the Council has no plans in the short, medium or long term to close the North Kensington Library building nor to end its use as a public library.
To deliver on this commitment, the Council, as a whole, declares the following:
1. The Council guarantees that, for as long as the Library offers a valued and well-used service to the local community, the Library and the building will remain as a permanent public asset. Throughout this period, the Council undertakes to:
(a) provide the relevant operational funding and resources required to run the library to a high standard of service, access and quality;
(b) and to maintain the Library building as required.
This guarantee is not time-limited and will not expire on account of the passing of time nor the change of personnel. Rather, the guarantee is only subject to change after active consultation as outlined in section 4 below.
2. The decision as to whether the Library offers a “valued and well-used service” will lie with the resident user base of the Library and the local community who live in North Kensington (as defined as all wards north of Holland Park Avenue), whose opinion will be sought through unbiased consultation and surveys. Key measures that will be used to review whether the Library offers a “valued and well-used service” will include: usage levels; library users’ satisfaction levels; specific surveys for the users of the library and the local community (as above); and CIPFA public library surveys and benchmarking. This will be done in collaboration with users of the library.
3. Any proposals regarding any substantial change to the building and service (apart from general management of the Library) will be co-developed and co-designed from the outset, and will place the interests of the community at the centre of any plans.
4. Any substantial change or proposal put forward, whether proposed by the Council or the community, will only be enacted after active consultation with the resident user base of the Library and the local community who live in North Kensington (as defined as all wards north of Holland Park Avenue), and if the proposal is supported by the majority of those consulted. For clarity, a proposed change, will only be agreed and implemented if over 50% of those who respond to the consultation make a positive choice for the change. Any consultation questions will be signed off by an independent party to ensure that they are neutral and non-leading in their design.
– Leader of Council (Cllr Campbell)
– Deputy Lead of the Council (Cllr KTS)
– Lead Member for Skills and Enterprise (Cllr Faulks)
– Leader of Labour party (Cllr Robert Atkinson)
– 1 Councillor from the Colville Ward
– CEO (Barry Quirk) and Executive Director for Environment and Communities (Sue Harris)
– Nick Hurd as Minister for Victims for Grenfell