Labour calls on Westminster Council to “come clean” over Marylebone Library delay

Labour councillors have asked Westminster Council to explain its failure begin work on the delayed Marylebone Library

The Marylebone Library on Luxborough Street, which has yet to start, was meant to have opened this summer, yet building work has still not started.

Labour Councillors claim that the Westminster Council has “let down Marylebone residents as rumours abound that the current temporary library has been told to leave its Howard de Walden estate-owned premises in Beaumont Street and will be down-sized to a couple of shop units in New Cavendish Street until a permanent location can be found.”

Citing council documents, Labour insists that the new Marylebone library should have been built and opened by Spring 2015, a date which was later revised to Summer 2015, then Late 2015.

Currently, the project is not due to be completed until “Early Summer 2016″ but work still hasn’t started.

The delay is compounded by claims that costs for the library have also soared from £12 million to £16.8 million and that two contractors have departed from the project because of financial issues.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Labour’s Built Environment spokesperson said: “This monumental failure to start work on this long-delayed major project demonstrates the Council’s incompetence when it comes to rebuilding Westminster’s public services. A public library that should have been open this month is still just a dream. No work has started, not a brick has been laid and soon Marylebone Library will be homeless and will have to move from its temporary Beaumont Street premises.”

A spokesperson from Westminster Council said: “Westminster City Council has withdrawn its plans to build a new library on Luxborough Street in Marylebone. Whilst the development of a new library on Luxborough Street is no longer financially viable, the council remains committed to providing a library in the area.”

The statement from the council continues, saying that “the council made the difficult decision not to go ahead following a substantial increase of £6 million in development costs. It is currently considering options regarding the future of the Luxborough site.”

The temporary library on Beaumont Street will move to a new location on nearby New Cavendish Street in early 2017, until a permanent location is found.

Cllr David Harvey, Cabinet Member for Sports and Leisure, said: “At a time when many councils are closing libraries, we remain committed to providing a library in Marylebone. We will continue to provide a temporary library whilst we finalise a permanent site.

“We explored all options before reaching the difficult decision to withdraw our plans,” Cllr Harvey explains, adding “these included covering the additional costs or working with a new contractor but it was felt that neither of these options were financially viable.”

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused to library users in Marylebone and hope they will continue to make use of the library facilities in nearby Mayfair and Church Street, or the temporary library on Beaumont Street.

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