CARNEGIE: GREENWICH LEISURE TO GET ‘FIRST DIBS’ ON NEARLY ALL THE LIBRARY’S GROUND FLOOR COMMUNITY SPACE
Greenwich Leisure will get ‘first dibs’ on nearly all the ground floor ‘community’ space at the Carnegie library, Herne Hill for exercise classes including noisy ‘body pump’ sessions, say Friends of Lambeth Libraries.
In a ‘wrecking’ catalogue of Greenwich Leisure’s plans for the building, FOLL, commenting on Greenwich Leisure’s plans for the library building, say:
Wrecking the building…
GLL will get a huge gym in the basement. Where the so-called ‘library’ will go is still unclear. What’s certain is that it will be much smaller and have no staff (well, maybe two hours a day). Useless for many. Unsafe for unaccompanied children. Noisy for everyone.
The ground floor plans are so inept that – just as one example – the recently-refurbished toilets would be destroyed and replaced by toilets that will knock out a whole meeting room or the community kitchen.
They would be at the furthest possible distance from all entrances, including the disabled entrance, and require a long trek through the community space and any activity that survives in it.
Wrecking the garden…
As nobody wants a gym in the building at all, Lambeth / GLL ‘compromised’ by opting to blow an extra £700,000-odd on digging out the basement to take it.
Surprise! Now it’s clear that this will wreck the garden that’s an integral part of the listed building’s appeal.
Three of the four mature trees would be felled. Most of the shrubs and bushes would be destroyed. The garden’s size would be more than halved, to fit in TWO big structures for gym ventilation etc.
And – wait for it – a garish modern glass entrance would be stuck on, just handy for the neighbours to enjoy bright lights and noise at all hours.
So much for the years of work by local people – with extensive grants from public funds – to create a peaceful haven with a children’s garden, wildlife garden, disabled access path and lots of opportunities for healthy gardening activities.
At least the council is being consistent. Fast and secretive is always the Lambeth way.
The original crazed plan to turn thriving libraries into fee-charging GLL gyms came out of the blue on October 2, 2015.
It was given no publicity at all, but rubber-stamped by Lambeth council’s cabinet 10 days later.
About 200 protesters, who had somehow found out about this complete bombshell, were shut out of the crowded and angry meeting.
Hundreds have protested ever since, by every possible means.
The full horror of the plans began to emerge only in October, at an exhibition held on two half-days, both in working time, with almost no notice.
Asset transfer, anyone?
The two local groups vying to take on the building would be lumbered with a gym that neither wants, within a building stripped of its community potential, on a financial basis that is as yet totally vague.
Both groups are soldiering on, presumably because getting the building out of Lambeth’s clutches is their overwhelming priority.
There is still no sign of any Lambeth / GLL business plan, market research or financial projections to justify this expensive experiment.
“NORMALLY, LOCAL PLANNING APPLICATIONS CAN BE SEEN IN THE LIBRARY….”
Normally, local planning applications could be seen in the library; but with it closed, people unable to view or comment online should contact Lambeth Planning at Phoenix House, 10 Wandsworth Road SW8 2LL, 020 7926 1180.
The Friends of Carnegie Library wrote to councillors and officers on 25 October calling for a clear GLL business plan before any planning application, pointing out the proposed excavation was not deep enough for a gym and that noise and vibration would preclude other uses in the library.
“We objected to building development in the Reading and Wildlife Garden and the felling of mature trees, adding it was inappropriate for GLL’s architects to propose reconfigurations to the main floor.
The interventions shown on the plans there and to the garden would damage heritage features and seriously restrict what the CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) taking asset transfer could offer. Surely it is not for a potential tenant of the CIO to put forward such plans.
Further details and points of objection will be on our website. Closing date for responses is 29 November. (Source: Friends of Carnegie Library newsletter)