A Lambeth council press officer attended last week’s meeting of People’s Audit Lambeth, it has been revealed.
Simon Morrow of People’s Audit Lambeth said: “They can’t afford a librarian but spend money on a press officer.”
There is no indication – yet – of whether the press officer attended in a personal capacity or whether he was there officially – and, if so, on whose instructions.
Mr Morrow’s disclosure came at the inaugural meeting of Lambeth Democracy at Temple bowling club, Sunset Road, Herne Hill on Wednesday evening which was addressed by four speakers involved with different issues covering the Herne Hill area.
Mr Morrow said People’s Audit had received a lot of coverage from journalistic sources but to have an effect they had to reach the wider public. He said they would be “distributing flyers and carry on with what we’re doing.”
Cressingham Gardens resident Mariana Nwagboso said she first heard her home was going to be demolished from her son – who had seen it on Twitter.
“I said: ‘What’s Twitter?’.”A week later residents received a letter from Cllr Matthew Bennett, Labeth’s then cabinet member for housing, telling them the council planned to demolish the estate.
She said freeholders and leaseholders living on the estate had been demonised by councillors.
“When they have participated in demos it’s been called a front for middle class home owners – even when most of the residents on Cressingham are working class tenants.”
“The chair of the estate’s residents engagement panel has not been elected – she is a Labour ward councillor who has been forced on us by Lambeth in order to make sure the panel achieve the council’s aim of demolition.”
Michaela Loebner of Defend the Ten said every time they tried to get their case across they met a brick wall.
“They are a pretty shameless bunch. “If they go on as they are there will be nothing left. “This is not an example of what we want from a council. “We want our library service fully restored and not a freezing cold place with no disabled access.”
Nick Edwards of Friends of Carnegie Library outlined the library’s history when 1999 when Lambeth first wanted to close it.
He said that in 2013 Lambeth Labour had put out a leaflet asking people to join the Friends.
“We were a bit suspicious about it as the Friends are supposed to be politically neutral.
He revealed that the address given on the leaflet to join the Friends was…that of the local Labour party.