CARNEGIE LIBRARY HERNE HILL – MORE THAN 300 OBJECTIONS TO GREENWICH LEISURE PLANS
More than 300 letters of objection to the proposals for the Carnegie library, Herne Hill have been sent to Lambeth:
Summary of objections
Land Use: A full working library will not be provided – the proposed plans shows the uses as a flexible community space and flexible library option; No need or demand for a gym in the locality; Loss of a library – building should remain in use as a staffed library which the locality needs;
Reduction of library facilities without adequate demonstration of lack of demand for former library. It has not been demonstrated that provision of a gym (for which no business plan has been made public) and the transfer of the remainder of the property to a yet to be determined group will deliver any approved strategies for service improvements.
The change of use effectively pushes out any chance of there being an effective library space in the building. These are totally at odds with Lambeth’s objectives to be a cooperative council. It is unacceptable to suggest that the main, ground floor central space will be ‘flexible community space’.
Plans show the library per se will be squeezed into one or two small rooms of the building, which cannot possibly serve the needs of the community. The proposed café/kitchen areas are small and ill positioned. There is a lack of toilet provision for the ground floor library/community areas.
The future of the library space is not sufficiently safeguarded. The community has consistently highlighted the importance of protecting the library service as part of any future plans.
Lambeth council have not provided any credible evidence it has properly considered or researched ways of maintaining or enhancing the building’s original intended use or of changing its use to something more in keeping with its status as a community asset and which would be more likely to be supported by the library’s former users and by residents in the area.
No clear plans have yet been presented as to what space, if any, will be available for library and community use and how or if it will be staffed.
Amenity: The proposed opening times are inappropriate to the wholly residential area. Generation of noise and vibration from the gym to the use of the other rooms/floors in the building. Lighting from the new build reception and car park area. Noise and air pollution from the boilers and air conditioning units which will be built in the garden area. Noise of comings and goings associated with up to 300 visits/day
The long hours proposed for allowing ‘noisy work’ are unacceptable, and are likely to severely affect neighbours’ quality of life for the months it will take to complete the structural work. Information on limits of timings of the noisiest building work but no information at all quantifying noise limits. The sound proofing of the building is inadequate and music played within the proposed gym and community space will clearly mean that the relative quiet of a library study space will be not be achievable.
The air conditioning units will be directly below two bedroom windows, creating noise and disturbance to the residents, neighbours, and those who use the garden.
Transport: Increased pressure on the limited amount of parking spaces Excavation work of the basement will be extremely noisy and cause traffic and parking disruption in Ferndene Road. No provision of car parking for gym users The inconvenience of the public transport will encourage people to drive to the building, increasing traffic and parking problems in the immediate locality.
The waste disposal is proposed to be ‘as existing’ but with trip generation increased by a predicted 310 extra users for the gym, waste will disposal will increase causing extra noise in the neighbourhood on collection day.
Design/Heritage: The proposed excavation is not deep enough to accommodate gym users. 3m floor to ceiling height is a substandard offer according to Sport England Fitness and Exercise Spaces Design Guidance Notes.
Internal works not justified and would harm the listed building / harm the “significance / special interest” of the listed building, which is strongly linked to Andrew Carnegie, was purpose built as a library on condition that it be used for nothing else, and has functioned extremely well in its original usage.
Other: Applications only given minimal publicity (Officers’ response:A full and thorough consultation process was conducted in accordance with statutory requirements.) Website down over Christmas so could not leave comments. (Response: This is unfortunate but comments on this case have been accepted beyond the end of the consultation period and the scheme has been present on the website for in excess of the 21 days required.)
Detailed information and greater opportunities to engage with the council about this matter should have been provided but local residents feel that there has been an overall lack of information about the proposed plans.
The consultation with the community and the residents of the building has been consistently poor to non-existent. (Response: The strength of public engagement prior to submission is not relevant to the planning considerations.)
Properly qualified and paid librarians should be running the library, paid for by the council and not undemocratic voluntary trusts where there is no long term guarantee of service. (Response: Not a material planning consideration.)
No business plan shown by GLL for the need of a gym. There is no evidence that the planned gym will be commercially viable. (Response: This is not a material planning consideration. The viability of the potential operator does not impact on the planning merits of the case.)
Five letters in support were received: The gym in the basement is supported as long as the main part of the building is available for community use. This is the solution to get investment into the building and for it to be properly used again.
The building will continue to serve the function to which is was originally intended – a library. Space within the building will continue to be used for community purposes. Only a part of the building currently unused will be used to accommodate the gym.