News From Crystal Palace approached both Cllr Tim Briggs, Conservative opposition leader on Lambeth council, and Herne Hill Green party for their reactions to the latest revelations surrounding the Carnegie library Herne Hill.
From Tim Briggs:
“Labour’s way of doing these things follows a pattern. “They do something underhand and their attitude is – ‘we’ve got a large majority, we’ll force it through.’
“Last night I was speaking at a Brixton Pulse meeting with Cllr Jane Pickard, and she was telling everyone how Labour listened to everyone, and how important listening to the community was. “My jaw dropped.
“It’s absolute nonsense. “They don’t listen and they will do what they want to do.
“Clearly there is an issue with the way Labour councillors are using the law, when local authorities can override whatever the community directs.
“The best local authorities will act in the best interests of residents, but Lambeth is a local authority that acts in the best interests of Labour councillors, or what they think are their best interests.
“Then you’ve got Cllr Jim Dickson doing promotional videos – Jim Dickson The Movie I call it – saying how wonderful the Carnegie is now.
“This is a beautiful asset that’s been gifted to the community, the council has been entrusted to look after it, and Labour councillors are basically ignoring everyone else and doing what they want with it, saying ‘we know best’.
“We have opposed this ridiculous plan for as many years as it has been put forward.
“On a common sense basis there has to be a solution where the council engages with the local community.
“Huge amounts of money have been spent by Labour councillors just to make sure their flawed plans can be forced through so they don’t look weak.
“They genuinely believe that if they repeat the same nonsense enough times, residents will just fall into line and believe it. “It’s hard to be objective about it.”
From Herne Hill Green party:
‘COUNCIL KNOWS BEST’ ATTITUDE HAS TO STOP – HERNE HILL GREEN PARTY
Wherever one looks in Lambeth, one sees disgruntled residents and vexed community volunteers. This sorry state of affairs is completely at odds with the dystopian narrative put out by our so-called cooperative council.
In Herne Hill alone, hundreds of people have stood up to fight to keep their tenants and residents association funding, maintain access to their local park, keep their paddling pool for the summer or to receive proper service from their library.
These frustrations stem from a lack of transparency and insufficient engagement from the council. This is reinforced by a totally one-sided council, dominated by Lambeth Labour that has lost the will and skills to debate and even listen to differing opinions, either from other parties or from community groups.
This “council knows best” attitude has to stop.
Residents of Herne Hill tell us that their patience has worn out. They know that local councillors have been wanting to close Carnegie library for 20 years and Lambeth Labour are using any excuse to push their agenda whilst shifting the blame on others.
Since the infamous Culture 2020 report was published, Herne Hill Green party have been mobilised to protect the service in our local library as we knew it would be under attack again.
Our main area of concerns were firstly the secrecy of the dealing between the council and Greenwich Leisure, and secondly the fairness of the asset transfer process.
We have been asking the council why Greenwich Leisure would not pay any rent for the use of the basement of the Carnegie library building, we have been asking for a business plan for the installation of a gym in an area that does not need one, we have been asking whether spending millions on excavating the basement and on security was the best use of our money…
Council’s financial strategy for libraries does not stand close scrutiny, People’s Audit Lambeth had already highlighted how official figures didn’t add up.
Today, we feel vindicated, when senior members of Carnegie Community Trust, the preferred partners of the council, are using such strong words against Lambeth’s dysfunctional approach to securing a future for Carnegie library.
With the community garden already wrecked, the library rooms reduced to a shadow of their former selves, the Grade II listed building suffering from excavation work, time is running out to defend what is left of our public asset.
We call voters to make their voice heard at the ballot box on the 3rd of May.
The choice is clear between narrow-minded, unimaginative, uncompromising Labour councillors and Nick Christian, Matt Reynolds and Becca Thackray, long-standing local campaigners who will carry residents, campaigners and local volunteers’ voices to the town hall. (Source: Herne Hill Green party)