Gants Hill community hub: Mayor of London asked to intervene
PUBLISHED: 17:04 12 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:04 12 September 2019
The Mayor of London has been asked to intervene in the Gants Hill Hub project.
Redbridge Council previously launched a consultation on turning the 1930s building in Cranbrook Road, into a "super library" with community facilities and residents were asked to provide feedback by September 1, 2019.
However a small number of constituents said the consultation was "not transparent enough" and participants did not have the option of voting to keep the building in its current state.
At a London Assembly meeting this morning (Thursday, September 12) Redbridge and Havering Assembly Member Keith Prince asked Sadiq Khan if he would instruct Redbridge Council to create a new consultation.
"I know you are very friendly with Mr Athwal [leader of Redbridge Council] and that is a good thing," said Mr Prince.
"Would you have a friendly word with your friend to redo the consultation?
"Could I ask you to encourage him to keep the promise he made to the people of Redbridge?
"When he did the consultation on the library one of the options should be that the library be kept as it currently is."
Mr Prince explained that while he is not outright against a hub, the consultation should not just focus on new services but look at the existing building and car park.
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Mr Khan praised the work of council leaders who had to come up with creative solutions to keep services open under a sea of cuts.
Replying to the assembly he added: "Libraries are crucial lifelines for many, particularly poor, people who haven't got space in their homes for books and all the rest of it, so it is really important that there is an improved offer.
"I hope any consultation is meaningful and genuine and I am positive that this very good council leader [Cllr Athwal] will make sure he listens to his constituents.
"I am also aware that the excellent local MP Wes Streeting is also working with the council to make sure residents have their views heard and I am sure working together they can get the best deal for residents in the context of the massive cuts in 2010."
Mr Prince then asked if Mr Khan would instruct Redbridge Council to redo the consultation but the mayor said he had "no intention" of jumping in.
"What I would recommend is for the AM [for Redbridge and Havering] to respond to the consultation to make sure he has his view heard by the council and tries to influence the consultation," Mr Khan said.
"And while he is at it he could also speak to Havering where there are fewer libraries than Redbridge."