There are a lot of non-NIMBY reasons to oppose this project. I disagree that the current library is an eyesore. The exterior is definitely an architectural style not to everyone's taste, but it at least has character. The proposals are so generic and could easily house shops versus a public space.
If you enter the library, you are in a beautiful open, naturally lit space with a striking staircase. It is dated. It could use some nicer decorating. But any new build will lack any sense of moment and grandeur. Chatham Hall, too, is an open, naturally lit space which is available for the community to rent, as well as houses lots of classes for the children of the community. The community is full of children that need nursery spaces, and closing a popular nursery is not to its benefit, either.
The new flats will ONLY be market-rate flats--no 'affordable' housing options are in the plans. Somehow the developers and council are getting around this by offering the public space (which we already have).
Clearly, the Council sees this as a way to monetise the real estate assets of Northcote road. I'm sure no-one is getting rich off this (well, maybe the developers) but this is an effort by the council to try to find some more money while things are really tight. Plus, it looks good on paper (new flats AND a new library, win-win!). However this is short-term thinking. We can't get these spaces back once we lose them. We should be expanding our public spaces, not reducing them. I have serious reservations about this plan and I would like the council to rethink their options. If there isn't any will or funds to do anything about improving things now, then let's wait. The community of Northcote Road isn't asking for these changes, it's all coming from the council.