Lambeth council plan to give the Carnegie library at Herne Hill to Greenwich Leisure to run if their deal with the Carnegie Community Trust falls through.

The bombshell claim comes in a letter signed by former Lambeth Labour councillors Carol Boucher and Fred Taggart who sensationally quit the Trust late last year – and then called on Lambeth council leader Cllr Lib Peck to quit.

That would mean the Carnegie Library Association – which also bid to run the library – being completely ignored by the council.

In their letter – published on the Brixton Blog news website – the duo reveal that they “resigned in protest at Lambeth’s duplicity and dishonesty in prioritising the use of a public asset for its leisure contract provider in preference to a viable and sustainable community proposal that had been developed and submitted in accordance with the legislation and Lambeth’s own community hubs policy.

“Our remaining colleagues on the Trust decided, with heavy hearts, to continue to engage with Lambeth to see if some wider community benefit might still be secured in the Carnegie building.

“If they cannot achieve this then Lambeth has made it clear that it will transfer the running of the building and the services within it to Greenwich Leisure – not what Andrew Carnegie envisaged when he gifted the building to the people of Lambeth in 1905.”

The ex-councillors’ comments come in a letter to MP Clive Betts, chairman of the housing, communities and local government committee – and of which Dulwich and West Norwood MP Helen Hayes, in whose constituency the library stands, is a member.

The letter – published on the Brixton Blog website on April 4th – adds: “All the Trustees have now recognised that the Community Trust’s innovative vision for the building has been lost and, at best, it might only secure a bit of space for incidental “village hall” type activities and with funding on a hand-to-mouth basis.

“We have counselled our colleagues not to take responsibility for the fabric of the building on such terms but to leave that with Lambeth.

“So, the inept and technically incompetent political leadership of Lambeth council has thoroughly enraged the community, potentially costing the council taxpayer up to £2.5 million facilitating works for Greenwich Leisure, while the council will retain responsibility for capital works to the building and secure no income from it.

“Not what was proposed in 2012 when we started the asset transfer process.

“We consider this situation to be a travesty of local democracy. “It also demonstrates, to put it charitably, an astonishing degree of managerial incompetence on the part of council officers.

“In our case, the ad hoc policy changes by Lambeth council since 2015, with no public discussion or involvement, have subverted and destroyed the basis on which our Community Trust originally sought transfer.”

Lambeth council and cabinet member for leisure Cllr Sonia Winifred have both been asked by News From Crystal Palace for a response to comments made by the ex Labour councillors. No reply so far……..

A post by the Carnegie Community Trust dated March 30th – two days after the letter signed by ex Trust members Carol Boucher and Fred Taggart – on their official website – states:  
CCT are continuing discussions with Lambeth about a 75 year lease, an interim licence to occupy and the details of the stage two contract which includes some new fitting out on the ground floor.

We aim to be using the building from early May, to begin implementation of our plans, including invitations to community groups and users to look round the ground and first floor rooms with us as they become accessible. This will be an important time for us to configure the use of the spaces in the library in manner which meets the needs and ambitions of the whole community.

We are also now applying for funding for capacity building, early implementation of our plans and ensuring a strong focus on the heritage of the building

So we are now also looking for new trustees and would be delighted to hear from you if you would like to consider becoming one of the trustees of this challenging and exciting project. We are looking for a range of diverse skills, experience, local knowledge and interests including heritage, local history, community engagement, planning and communications.

If you are not interested in the role of trustee, but might like to be involved in a support role, again do let us know.

Please send an email to  and we will be in touch. Carnegie Community Trust CIO

(Note: The recent annual meeting of Carnegie Library Association heard Carnegie Community Trust had held an invitation-only meeting for potential new trustees. “Two people came and one of those was the spouse of one of the trustees” members were told. – Ed.)

FURTHER READING: Numerous stories on this website – please search ‘ Carnegie library Herne Hill’

Council leader Lib Peck urged to ‘stand aside’ as Carnegie trust leaders quit – Brixton Blog November 29th 2017


Defend The Ten Retweeted Unjum Mirza‏ @Unjum_Mirza

This is dynamite… essential reading for every local activist/campaign group (don’t miss the link embedded to full letter in the @BrixtonBlog article) “We wish to protect other well-intentioned community groups of volunteers from being similarly undermined and subverted…”

Defend The Ten Retweeted Kim Lewis‏ @Kim_hLewis

But note Carnegie Community Trust use of word ‘other’ – implying that it is a community group. It is not. Five self-appointed people, now down to three trustees. No members, no voting rights. Carnegie Library Association is the real community group, passed over by Lambeth council.

Defend The Ten Retweeted Rachel Heywood‏ @cllrheywood (Ind.Lab. Coldharbour ward – AND CANDIDATE – Ed.)

Cdn’t make it up. 2 former @LambethLabour (LL) Cllrs appntd by LL 2 Carnegie comm trust report LL 2 MPs 4 ‘inept & .. incompetent pol. l’ship’, illegal whipping, ‘travesty of local democracy’ & more. Hopeless & catastrophic. @PeoplesAudit @defendtheten


Jim Dickson‏ @JimDicksLambeth (Herne Hill ward Cllr and Labour candidate – Ed.))

Good to get an update from @CarnegieHerneHl on their plans for community ownership of the Carnegie building as a thriving local hub & great library; along with an invitation for residents to become a trustee – apply:



  1. The letter makes some valid points, but also repeats spin, e.g. building underused. Also misleading, implying CCT is a community organisation; it’s unrepresentative & undemocratic. Anyone appointed as a trustee who disagrees with the majority will be expelled. No membership & only trustees can vote. No public support. The CCT plans, developed in secret, are not viable. They should step aside in favour of CLA, which does have workable plans with wide community support.

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