Navin Shah, London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow and a candidate in the upcoming election has written the following response to a constituent regarding the Brent libraries issue:
Thank you for your email to me and apologies for the delay in replying to you. I appreciate and share your concerns. I can only tell you my opinion on the library closures and the proposed demolition of Willesden Green Library.
I would firstly like to respectfully point out that I am not a member of Brent Council and my remit is confined to the London Assembly and Mayor of London. I do not have a vote on Brent Council or in the Labour Group in Brent and I do not have a say in the policies that Brent choose to implement.
The best I can do on this issue is to convey my views on the importance of maintaining libraries, which I have done, to the Brent Labour Group. On this, I have been approached by campaigners to enable a meeting between Brent Council's elected members and officers to their case across. I have sought to do this but I have been advised by the Council that they are unable to meet at this time because of the pending legal appeal.
As a side note, as well as my position on the London Assembly I am an elected councillor in Harrow. The Harrow Labour Group, of which I am a member, have ensured that there will be no closures or privatisation of libraries. I am proud of this policy as I feel that libraries are an important part of the community.
I would also like to add that I believe the stringent cuts made by the Coalition Government has put local authorities in extremely difficult positions, having to choose which vital services they should cut. I do not envy any elected members and officers who have been placed in that position.
With regards to Willesden Green Library, as an architect by trade I feel preserving Willesden Green Library is extremely important. In Harrow, I have fought long campaigns to keep locally listed buildings and am on the board of Harrow Heritage Trust, which take matters such as these extremely seriously. I want to keep Willesden Green Library building and am actively pursuing this issue.
I hope that you understand my position. Please feel free to contact me on this issue again should you need further clarification on this or any other issues where I can be of assistance.