LAMBETH PLANNED “IMMEDIATE CLOSURE” OF CARNEGIE LIBRARY
Lambeth council planned the “immediate closure” of the Carnegie library, Herne Hill.
The sensational revelation comes from the secretive Labour dominated – and highly controversial – Carnegie Community Trust.
The self-appointed trust says that in Lambeth’s Spring 2015 consultation “when Carnegie was listed as ceasing to be staffed, Lambeth confirmed that, had the Trust not been doing our work, they would have marked the entire building for immediate closure.
“When our project started in 2012 it was our understanding that Lambeth would continue to run a library, albeit in a reduced floor space, in the building and be a tenant of the new Trust.”
The Trust’s comments follow a recent council circular which states that “the council has never had – and would not support – plans to sell the Carnegie building.”
The Trust also outliness some of its history:
The Project Group (which the Trust say was its original title) successfully bid to the Lambeth Cooperative Borough Fund for money to undertake certain work, mainly fees for architects and consultants and a public consultation;
The project was started back in 2012 when Lambeth council planned to turn the Carnegie into a community hub even then; and
In October 2015 the Trust set themselves up as a CIO (charitable incorporated organisation)
“The Trust have now demonstrated to Lambeth that such a project is indeed viable and have applied to have the building transferred into community ownership.
“We are looking at a project that will cost in excess of £3 million.
“The roof alone needs to be replaced, the exterior is in poor shape, the lift is old and the services are in need of upgrade and rationalising. “And that is on top of any changes to accommodate the uses. “But after a lot of homework we think this can be done.”
The statement adds: “We are certainly self-appointed but our mission was only to see if the project was viable given the council’s early warning around future funding. “If, after undertaking the technical work, it was judged to be viable, the plan was to go ahead and apply for the building to be transferred to a charitable trust. “We have done this.
“Lambeth told us that they would only accept an application for the transfer of a public asset from a lawfully-established body (that is in the legislation). “So, rather than wait, and with advice from Community Matters (the national membership and support organisation for the community sector – Ed.) we set up the Carnegie Community Trust CIO in October 2015 and applied for transfer of the building.”
The Trust say they will work with anyone who is committed to achieving the vision of the project, be they Conservative, Green, Labour, Lib Dem or flat earth – but not the Friends of Carnegie Library.
“We do not consider the Friends, who represent library users, to be representative of the wider community who may never use a library, but who are potential users of the wider services and activities that will be on offer in a new community hub” say the Trust in their statement.
The Trust’s statement also tries to rebut claims that they are just a Labour ‘front’.
“The Trustees have no idea why the Friends of Carnegie Library and ‘Defend the 10’ keep accusing us of being stooges set up to ‘save face for Lambeth Labour’. “The only trustee whose politics are known is the recent ward councillor, Carol Boucher.
“No-one knows if or how the rest of us vote, or what parties we are or may be members of.
“And what does it matter?”