OPINION: IT MATTERS, MR ISAAC
“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?”
If there was a Lambeth dictionary of quotations, Mr Isaac’s comment would be making it into the next edition.
Clearly Mr Isaac hasn’t been reading News From Crystal Palace:
LABOUR SUPPORTERS BEHIND ‘COMMUNITY GROUP’
November 17, 2015
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.
There was also this:
“WE WILL WORK WITH OUR LABOUR CHUMS” – EDBROOKE
November 17, 2015
The following question and answer is on tomorrow night’s agenda in which Cllr Edbrooke says they will work with the Carnegie Community Trust – but not, it appears, the Friends of Carnegie library:
Question by Cllr Michelle Agdomar (Lab Herne Hill) to: Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods – Councillor Jane Edbrooke
(Full reports elsewhere on this website – Ed.)
Lambeth council recently issued a leaflet saying: “Local people have expressed an interest in taking community ownership of the building and the council continues to support these ambitions….
“The Carnegie Community Trust, which has been working on a business plan for the building for a number of years, have submitted an expression of interest for asset transfer. “It has also met with the Heritage Lottery Fund to discuss an application to them for funding to renovate the building, which the council supports.
“The Friends of Carnegie Library have also indicated an interest in taking over the building. “Any bid for an asset transfer will go through a thorough formal process.”
The latest statement from the Trust has an almost proprietorial air about it which may leave some readers thinking the library already belongs to the Carnegie Community Trust.
Here’s a few extracts from the Trust statement dated June 2nd (the day after Cllr Rachel Heywood had the Labour whip withdrawn). The highlights in bold are those of News From Crystal Palace:
“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.” And:
“As the explanation above makes clear, and given that the Staff Mutual bid has been rejected by the Council, the Trust will now incorporate library provision within its plans and will aim for that library service to be professionally staffed if the resources can be found to do this.”
(The explanation relates to the Trust’s version of events viz-a-viz the Friends of Carnegie library. “And given that the Staff Mutual bid has been rejected by the council clearly the Trust doesn’t favour it either.)
“Gym in basement “We had already obtained expert engineering advice to say that the basement could be dug out, as part of the Preferred Option work with our architects. “We wanted to expand the amount of usable space in the building. “Obviously we would have to raise the money to do this as part of the overall funding package.
“A quick re-think, using this information, suggests that a gym might be located in the basement rather than in the main hall. “We put this idea to Lambeth and they agreed that if the idea could work and was fundable they would go with it.
“If this is a runner then there is the alternative that the building comes to the Community Trust and the gym is a tenant in the basement. “Not what we set out to do, but, if we can do a deal with Lambeth, then this would give us the present building with all the existing floor space. “We would have lost nothing.”
Except a properly-run fully-staffed library.
Nowhere in the Carnegie Community Trust statement or the recent Lambeth circular is the word “secret” used. Neither is there any mention in the Carnegie Community Trust statement of the recent occupation, the cost of security guards, or this:
“More than 200 authors have signed an open letter to Lambeth councillors calling on them to scrap their plans for closures and healthy living centres.” (April 8th on this website).
At one point they do criticise Lambeth though:
“The Trust had no advance notice of the proposal by Lambeth last October to hand the building to Greenwich Leisure Ltd and were as shocked by this as everyone else in Herne Hill. “For some unexplained reason, Lambeth is wedded to the idea of a Healthy Living Centre with a gym in the building, despite there being other gyms already in the vicinity. “We have stated our total and unreserved opposition to the GLL decision and, in particular the transfer of the Carnegie building to a commercial operator for 25 years at a peppercorn rent.”
Now what was it Cllr Rachel Heywood got suspended from the Labour party for……????
NB: The following two items are taken from the Friends of Carnegie Library website:
Carnegie Library Community Hub Project
November 2, 2013 News Frances Lamb
The Friends are a member of the community hub Project Group. The Project Group is working with Lambeth towards a mutual goal of a viable (self-sufficient) community hub that retains the library at its core, but also generates vital revenue to cover upkeep of the building.
Communication from the chair of the Friends to all members
January 31, 2015 Campaigns, News Rodney Amis
A Project Group was set up initially with Friends support, but later excluded the Friends. Having completed their options exercise, they should now disband. However, they have formed an unaccountable shadow trust board, run by a self-appointed trio, with the aim of taking over the Carnegie Library building. Their plans are unworkable and would result in closure of the library and loss by the community of our public building.
And there’s this Lambeth council press release dated November 14th 2011:
Community to be at the heart of Lambeth Libraries, Commission proposes
Lambeth should invest in new technology and work more closely with the local community in order to create a 21st century library service, under proposals from Lambeth’s Library Commission unveiled today.
The proposals, to be considered by the Cabinet next week, will give local people more say in deciding how libraries should be run, and recommend that every part of the borough that currently has access to a library service will keep it.
Cllr Florence Nosegbe, Cabinet Member for Culture, and Chair of the Library Commission, said: “I’m pleased that the Commission has proposed a model that protects access to the library service in every part of the borough by working more closely with the local community.