Architects for Social Housing (ASH) had a manifesto of their own when they launched their book-length report about Central Hill estate, Crystal Palace on Thursday.

“At present, residents are presented with the choice between demolition and redevelopment and a lack of maintenance and managed decline. For ballots to constitute a genuine consensus from the estate community for an estate regeneration scheme, it is necessary:

1: That when proposing an estate regeneration scheme a social landlord (council or housing association) is legally obliged to set aside sufficient funds for a refurbishment and infill option to be designed and costed by a team of architects, engineers and quantity surveyors independent from the team given the brief for the demolition and redevelopment scheme.

2: That an independent team is given funds to produce an impact assessment of the social, financial and environmental costs of demolition and redevelopment for residents, the local community and the landlord, and that its findings are made public before any resident ballot is taken on regeneration.

3:That enforceable target requirements are set in legislation, rather than suggested as guidelines in policy, defining what an estate regeneration is legally bound to meet before receiving GLA funding or local authority planning permission.

4: That, if an estate community votes against a proposed demolition / redevelopment scheme the council is obliged to carry out the refurbishment and continue (or restart) the maintenance of the estate at the least, and not to reduce residents to a choice between demolition and managed decline. (Words placed in bold type by News From Crystal Palace – Ed.)

Lambeth Pensioners Action Group were handing out copies of their own manifesto at Lambeth town hall last week. (Please see: Pensioners protest ends amicably  as Ted Knight returns to Lambeth town hall Posted on  April 27th).

But some of their demands may not go down too well with the ruling Labour elite:

On housing: Ensure that the tenants and the residents are at the heart of the estate regeneration and fully engaged in planning developments, including design and the appointment of architects and contractors.

On public services: Maintain the number of fully equipped and staffed libraries as centres of research, learning, recreation and general interest………..


Defend The Ten‏ @defendtheten

Almost no £ raised from property developers has gone to libraries under this @LambethLabour administration. This was not imposed from Westminster. No evil Tories were involved. They had the choice & chose to starve libraries of these funds.

Defend The Ten Retweeted Lambeth Lib Dems #FBPE‏ @LambethLibDems

We support a proper library service for #Lambeth. No more games or tricks with our libraries please.

Labour Cllr Iain Simpson‏ and Streatham Hill Labour candidate @IainSimpson

Out in #HerneHill this morning. This weather is ridiculously, ridiculously cold. It’s nearly may and we needed gloves. Now off to #StLeonards – it’s further south so hopefully warmer!

Defend The Ten Retweeted Friends of Carnegie‏ @FrndsofCarnegie Retweeted Iain Simpson

You travelled all the way from Streatham Hill in the vain attempt to prop up your library-destroying Herne Hill ward mates? Sorry for your wasted journey.


Defend The Ten Retweeted Jamie Muir‏ @jamiembrixton who Retweeted NY Public Library

NY Public Library‏Verified account @nypl

“I ransack public libraries and find them full of sunken treasure.” ―Virginia Woolf #WednesdayWisdom

To which Jamie Muir responded:

If she visited the Carnegie Library in Herne Hill today she might feel compelled to shake her head and say: ‘and find them full of gym equipment.’


Defend The Ten‏ @defendtheten:

Here we are just days away from the local election, Thursday May 3rd!!!! Today two long-term users of the library, Jeff & Princess, are here to remind you to vote!

Jeff says “I’ve been a member of Carnegie Library for 36 years, but I can’t bear to go in now. The library enriched my life in so many ways from books/CD’s/DVD’s, to computers, printing & photocopying. I’ve faced redundancy twice & both times it was my refuge & source of support”

Princess adds “Yeah it’s MY library but I don’t like it now either. I use to go to Book at Breakfast but the group never came back after the closure. We used to make tea in the kitchen, but the kitchen has gone too as have the loos. I mean come on!”

Jeff says “Yes, it grieves me that everything we achieved over the years: Art Gallery, Reading & Wildlife Garden, Teen Zone, etc has all been destroyed & the clubs, groups & activities from tea & cake stall to Chess to Winter Fair banished & unlikely to return.”

“When Lambeth proposed to close the library in 1999 I became a founder member of the Friends of Carnegie Library; & after a three-year campaign we won a reprieve…

…Then we worked with the librarians to revitalise & raise the profile of the library with such success it was thriving when Lambeth again attacked.”

“Now, after two years’ closure, it is in a shocking state physically, & the atmosphere is depressing & off-putting. To add insult to injury, Lambeth side-lined the Friends & Carnegie Library Association in favour of the misnamed, unrepresentative Carnegie Community Trust.”

Princess sighs “I used to find courses to go on here. I used to like seeing the schools visiting, the joy on the little kids faces as the librarian explained everything. I know lots of locals because of the library too including a famous actress I would not have met otherwise!”

Jeff adds “Yes, over the years I’ve made many friends here as well, people who share my love for the library & all it has given us. There is still a chance we can all be reunited to bring the library back to life; perhaps after May 3rd we’ll be able to make a fresh start.”


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