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Westminster Rejects Library Refurbishment

Feb 21 2007 22:24
Ashley Brown
Westminster Council have rejected planning permission for the library refurbishment, due to concerns over the solar shading.
Nice big windows to let the sun in - you'll be roasted by the heat for 2 more years

The South Kensington library's refurbishment plans have come to a halt following the rejection of the planning application by Westminster council. The College is required to seek a planning application for all changes, even if they are not visible on the outside of the campus.

The reason for rejection was benzene-styled solar shading intended for the library's windows, which would finally have relieved the problem of blinding sunlight heating up the upper levels. The shading was considered to be too dense by the planning committee, leading to the whole application being rejected.

The library during the summer

It is not a complete disaster: College will resubmit the application without solar shading to allow works to continue with only a slight delay - assuming of course the plans are accepted. Following this they will submit a separate planning application for the solar shading, but students will now have to endure a good roasting during the summer for at least another year and probably one more after that.

The refurbishment plans include a number of changes to improve the ventilation of the library, including new ventilation grilles and motorised louvres in the rooflights on Level 5. When combined with the solar shading these changes would have improved the ambient temperature and atmosphere in the library without the need for environmentally unfriendly air-conditioning. Now it is likely the system will just push hot air around during the summer.

The library itself cannot be seen from outside the main body of College: members of the public only come into contact with the building when using the public right of way through Imperial College Road.

The College and Union are looking for the support of Westminster residents for the solar shading, in advance of the new planning application going in. Westminster council has a page where you can find and contact your local councillors if you live in the borough.

Given that the same council approved of the bright pink Bessemer building, Live! recommends the new planning application includes something similar for the library.

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Discussion about “Westminster Rejects Library Refurbishment”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
1. Sid   
Feb 22 2007 11:42

Anyone know, why there is a door on the outside of the 2nd floor of the library? It can be seen from the Queen's Lawn, I don't think its the ideal way to get in, unless college is planning an extension to the library.

Feb 22 2007 11:48

I presume it was used when they had the scaffolding up, so contractors could get to the top floors without trying to take bits and pieces through the revolving doors?

3. Ben   
Feb 22 2007 14:57

College is planningan extention to the library. Firstly the ground floor will be extended to fill the space currently left under the upper floors, and secondly a service tower will be built, and I guess this is what the door will lead to.

Feb 22 2007 16:07

ben rocks!

5. Ben   
Feb 22 2007 16:57

I posted this on Facebook earlier to explain what's happening:

John and myself are planning to meet with the local Council to find out why this happened, and explain how important it is. At the moment studetns don't need to do anything, but when the application for the solar shading is resubmitted we need to get as many students supporting it as possible - especially those living in Westminster.

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