LAMBETH COULD FACE JUDICIAL REVIEW OVER LIBRARIES PLANS “We are being forced to go to law because Lambeth refuses to listen” – FOLL
Lambeth council could face a second judicial review – this time over its controversial plans for libraries.
The move comes amid revelations that Lambeth are set to spend up to FOUR MILLION POUNDS on employing development management teams on other controversial plans involving the Central Hill estate, Upper Norwood and the Fenwick estate, Clapham North – DESPITE repeated claims by Lambeth councillors they have no money to spend on libraries.
Friends of Lambeth Libraries (FOLL) say the latest case is being brought by public interest lawyers “on behalf of a Lambeth resident who depends on Carnegie library at Herne Hill – one of three libraries condemned to be replaced by a fee-charging gym.
“It would have a small collection of books and PCs – but no staff to help people.
“The claimant in this case is just one of hundreds of vulnerable people who will lose vital services if Lambeth forces through its plan to gut five of its ten thriving libraries.”
Last month the High Court found Lambeth council acted unlawfully when it removed options from a public consultation over plans to redevelop the Cressingham Gardens estate near Brockwell park, Herne Hill – and told the council to reconsult.
FOLL say: “The lack of consultation is a major plank in the new libraries case.
“Lambeth’s ‘culture2020’ proposals were launched in January with a confusing and slanted consultation process.
“It then produced radically different plans which were rushed through in just 10 days – with no consultation at all.
“Lambeth’s own culture2020 report admits there is no way to mitigate the damage to a long list of people who depend on local libraries and the help they get from staff.
“This is another plank in the case against Lambeth.
“The final – but vital – major point is Lambeth’s refusal to even consider a viable bid from library managers to run all 10 libraries, fully staffed, within the financial constraints set by Lambeth.”
A similar refusal by another council has already been declared unlawful in a previous judicial review, say FOLL.
“We are being forced to go to law because Lambeth refuses to listen. We have gone through all its democratic processes, and been faced with the same blank wall every time.
“It is still open to Lambeth to re-think, and accept an alternative that residents support. “We very much hope it will do so.
“There is time, as its own plan is barely worked out – and many serious questions remain unanswered.
“Residents all over the borough are strongly opposed. “They have signed petitions in their thousands, and marched in their hundreds in the rain. “This self-styled ‘co-operative council’ is shown to be nothing of the kind.”
….AS DURNING / TATE SOUTH LAMBETH ‘CONSULTATION’ IS BRANDED “INVALID”
LAMBETH council’s ‘consultation’ over whether to turn either the Durning library, Kennington or Tate South Lambeth, Vauxhall into the borough’s fifth town centre library has been branded “invalid”.
In a letter to Cllr Jane Edbrooke, cabinet member for neighbourhoods whose brief includes libraries, Christina Burnett, who heads Vauxhall CIC a local community interest company, says:
“I am writing to protest in the strongest terms at the way residents are being deprived of genuine consultation about whether Tate South Lambeth or Durning library should be the only full-service library in the north of the borough for the next few years.
“Cabinet and full council voted on the Culture 2020 Report, which specifically states that EITHER Tate South Lambeth or Durning will be this full-service (‘town centre’) library. “However, the consultation form does not offer this option.
“The wording is extremely misleading and allows only one result – the one you seem determined to achieve – which is to turn TSL into a gym with an unstaffed ‘community lounge’. “This is not a proper consultation.
“In addition, just 450 consultation forms have been delivered to Tate South Lambeth. “These forms were all used within four days of the start of the consultation and no more have been supplied, so the consultation period is invalid.
“In the week that Lambeth’s Cressingham Gardens consultation was judged unlawful for removing promised options it is astonishing that you and commissioners are again exposing LBL to legal challenges and associated costs and wasting scarce resources which could be spent on preserving vital front-line services.”
Further reading: LAMBETH “ACTED UNLAWFULLY” OVER ESTATE CONSULTATION SAYS HIGH COURT JUDGE – AS LIBRARY CAMPAIGNERS SLAM “ANOTHER SHAM CONSULTATION” – “This is a clear lesson in how not to conduct a consultation” – law firm – November 30th