LABOUR SUPPORTERS BEHIND ‘COMMUNITY GROUP’
TWO FORMER labour councillors are among a so-called ‘community group’ which Lambeth council says it will deal with when discussing Carnegie library.
A former Lambeth council leader and a current Herne Hill ward councillor have also been involved with the group in one of its previous incarnations.
Retired solicitor Stephen Carlill told the meeting at the Carnegie of three groups:
THE STEERING GROUP: The steering group’s known members were Carol Boucher, Fred Taggart and Frances Lamb.
“Carol Boucher and Fred Taggart are both ex-councilors and active in Lambeth Labour.
THE SHADOW TRUST BOARD: “By invitation only. “In the event of a disagreement the majority can expel the minority.” (Laughter).
Membership: The Steering Group plus: Steve Whaley ex Labour councilor and former council leader; Mr Whaley’s partner in life Helen Schofield; Cllr Jack Holborn (Lab Herne Hill), and a local artist.
THE CARNEGIE COMMUNITY TRUST: The Shadow Trust Board but without Mr Whaley and Cllr Holborn.
He said the trust wanted to “dig out the basement of the Carnegie library and do major rebuilding. “That’s not necessary and is likely to be destructive. “We won’t be suggesting major rebuilding or other interventions.”
“Unlike the Shadow Trust if the Friends form the core management of the library that would be a democratic group with annual elections.
“One of the ideas of the Shadow Trust Board is that they should pay themselves as trustees. “We wouldn’t.”
In a recent report to the Friends of Carnegie library Mr Carlill said the existence of the original steering group was concealed from the Carnegie Friends and other supporters of the library until Cllr Edbrooke, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, mistakenly divulged its existence and membership.
The report continues: “The Shadow Trust Board has a website which looks impressive at first sight. “It includes a memorandum of understanding, which is the Board’s constitution.
“The Shadow Trust Board has failed to attract support from any local community groups. “The Steering Group’s previous front organisation did only a little better, by including the Friends until we were in effect expelled for disagreeing with the Steering Group.”
He said Cllr Jim Dixon’s amendment at the cabinet meeting held in Dunraven school referred to the ‘Shadow Trust Board’ but the official draft minutes on Lambeth’s website, prepared subsequently, substitute ‘local community.’
The report – apparently compiled before the existence of the Carnegie Community Trust became known – adds, somewhat ironically: “Perhaps the Steering Group plan to adopt yet another disguise as the first two failed. “If they do, we may need to act quickly to disabuse local people.”
Mr Carlill told the meeting the Friends of Carnegie library planned to register the Carnegie as an ‘Asset of Community Value’. “The legal effect is that if there is a ‘disposal’ as Lambeth term it then that can be blocked for six months and the community can have the opportunity to raise the money to take it on.”
He criticised the three Herne Hill ward councilors who had issued a leaflet “with the intention of fooling you all.
“They say they are going to face the future with Carnegie. “No they’re not. “They are going to discuss things with the Shadow Trust Board. “That’s very nice of them.”
“These three libraries (Carnegie, Minet, Tate South Lambeth) were donated by individuals to the people of Lambeth on the understanding Lambeth would, thereafter, maintain them as public libraries.”
The Carnegie was built with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie; the Minet library by William Minet and Tate South Lambeth by Henry Tate.
Mr Carlill also told the meeting that:
“One of the reasons given for withdrawing the money was that many of the users are not from Lambeth. “I have a supposition that they are not from Carlisle – they are from Southwark.
“When Lambeth talk about withdrawing from Carnegie all they are really saying is: ‘We expect the people from here to go to Southwark libraries.’
“I suspect Lambeth may have spent as much on reviewing its libraries as providing it over the past few years.Lambeth have spent as much money.
“We’re reliably informed there are several £100,000 available in the health and wellbeing budget. “There’s absolutely no reason why that shouldn’t be us.
Later in the meeting Friends of Carnegie library chairman Jeff Doorn said “They are pretending the shadows are community-led. “They are quite obviously self-appointed agents of the council.”
NOTE: The website ‘Carnegie library – the next chapter’ looks very official, is a very impressive, very slick and features a photograph of the library as its masthead.
Items include: Shadow Trust Board: Memorandum of Understanding November 5, 2014;
A Future for Carnegie Library November 15, 2015; and
Herne Hill Carnegie Library Shadow Trust March 8, 2015 which begins:
“As described in previous posts the Shadow Trust has been established, at the request of Lambeth Council, to continue the Carnegie Community Hub project now that the original Project Group’s remit of developing outline options for adapting the building, and getting these out to public consultation, is complete.” – Editor, NFCP.
UPDATE: LABOUR’S CARNEGIE COMMUNITY TRUST
The founding Trustees are a group of local people who wish to see the Carnegie fully in use, with a sustainable income that secures its future. In keeping with Andrew Carnegie’s vision, the Trustees wish to ensure that space is always available at Carnegie for lifelong learning – from out-of-school provision through to work skills improvement, literacy and citizenship classes or simply learning something new, at any age.
The founding Trustees are:
Carol has lived in Herne Hill for 40 years and served as a Ward Councillor between 2010 and 2014. She is a Friend of the Carnegie Library, a member of the Herne Hill Society and of the Friends of Ruskin Park. Carol has experience of working with and supporting local communities. She also brings skills acquired through running her own direct marketing business to the Trust
Phil has lived locally for 20 years and has been involved in numerous community campaigns and groups. He has 10 years’ experience in Heritage Regeneration, and has previously worked as a music and club promoter. He currently works in IT.
Frances has lived in Herne Hill with her husband and children for 15 years. She is a retired chartered accountant, and has a law degree. Frances was a committee member of the Friends of Carnegie Library for over ten years, and its Chair for two years. She was for several years a director of City Child Limited, a registered charity which ran a nursery and pre-school in the Barbican under the auspices of the City Corporation.
Helen lives in Herne Hill with her partner and their two sons. She started her career in criminal justice as Probation Officer and has served as Assistant General Secretary of NAPO – the Probation Officers Trade Union, Chief Executive of the Community Justice National Training Organisation and Head of Learning and Development for the National Policing Improvement Agency. She is now self-employed as an independent consultant and is also a Trustee of Spires Homeless Persons Charity in Streatham.
Fred has live in Herne Hill since 1980, and served as a Ward Councillor from 1986 to 1990. He is the Hon. Secretary of the Brixton Advice Centre and a member of the Herne Hill Society and a Friend of the Carnegie Library. Fred has recently retired as Projects Director of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, where he was responsible for advising and supporting community groups to develop and deliver proposals for the re-use of historic buildings. Fred is a Trustee of a number of heritage regeneration projects.
LIBRARY FRIENDS SEE LAWYERS TODAY
REPRESENTATIVES from the Friends of Carnegie library were meeting lawyers this morning (Tuesday) to see if they can mount a legal challenge to Lambeth’s plans.
No details of what would be discussed were given.
Friends of Carnegie library chairman Jeff Doorn said Lambeth were in breach of the co-operative libraries policy which says they must work with Friends groups and in breach of community policies on development which must be community-led.
“They are pretending the Shadows are community-led. “They are quite obviously self-appointed agents of the council.”
And a gentleman from the audience also highlighted EU (European Union) procurement law, Treasury disposal rules and the way the Shadow Trust Board was being empowered to go through the procurement process.
“These are really boring things – but they are really important” he added.
Further reading: KATE HOEY BLASTS ‘SHAM’ CONSULTATION ON WATERLOO LIBRARY CLOSURE October 12th 2015