Lambeth council are set to spend a further £1,073,000 on the Carnegie ‘building’ at Herne Hill.
The proposed move is the latest example in a long, long list of Lambeth’s ‘money pit’ spending in yet another ‘delegated decision’ report by cabinet members and / or council officers without it having to go to ANY council committee – unless the matter is ‘called in’ by five of the council’s six opposition councillors.*
ASTONISHINGLY the report does NOT say what the £1,073,000 is actually for. It merely states:
“(b) Phase 2: conversion and fit out works, including the new neighbourhood library. The phase 2 works do not require further planning permission.”
And that could mean library users worst nightmares coming true – and the library service being moved into just the front left-hand wing of the building.**
The report says the money will “be funded through allocated capital funding and the joint Greenwich Leisure profit share development pot.”
There is an option to add a roof terrace / roof garden (the report uses both terms) for £100,000 which will be funded by Carnegie Community Trust (CCT), the report adds.
The report also reveals that:
- Upon completion of the works, Greenwich Leisure will assume responsibility for all aspects of safety in relation to the use of the building.
- Eventually, the building will be staffed primarily by Carnegie Community Trust or Greenwich Leisure staff.
The report includes the usual Lambeth fiction that “a full library service is currently operating in the building” which it says will continue to operate throughout the programme which is due for completion this November. (7.1)
Fact: The library has no permanent library staff.
There then follows a load of spin that:
“The purpose of this construction project is to breathe life back into the building. “The authority has had to take an entrepreneurial approach to find a solution to offer a library service at Carnegie. “The council’s business case seeks to open up a gym in the basement of the library. “This construction project serves to support once again bringing about a functional library in the building.” (7.2 of the report)
“This will be achieved by generating a rental income following the excavation of the basement of the building which can then function as a gym. “A rental income and possible profit sharing arrangement will be integral if the library is to have a future.” – neglecting to add that the first rental payments are not due for five years. The report does not say who the ” possible profit sharing arrangement” involves. (7.3 of the report).
“The income generated will also be critical for any successful organisations who may have submitted an interest in managing the library, in alignment with the council’s community asset transfer policy.” (7.4 of the report).The successful applicant being the Carnegie Community Trust – please see other News From Crystal Palace stories on this self-elected group which currently numbers three.
The report also says: This contract award is linked to the creation of new healthy living centre as outlined and consulted on in the Culture 2020 Cabinet Report. (5.1)
This proposed key decision was entered in the Forward Plan on 10 November 2017 and the necessary 28 clear days’ notice has been given. In addition, the council’s constitution requires the report to be published on the website for five clear days before the proposed decision is approved by the cabinet member.
Any representations received during this period must be considered by the decision-maker before the decision is taken. A further period of five clear days – the call-in period – must then elapse before the decision is enacted. If the decision is called-in during this period, it cannot be enacted until the call-in has been considered and resolved.
Localised roofing repairs have been undertaken to address specific issues to front two roofs at Carnegie. It is envisaged that the repairs will be completed in time for the works to commence on the affected areas. the report adds.
The report says phase one of the works by Forcia Ltd which involved basement excavation and underpinning of Carnegie library commenced on 4 September 2017 and have now been completed. The site was handed over to the council by Forcia Ltd on 4 May 2018.
*At Lambeth council’s annual council meeting last month Labour lemmings – with two notable exceptions who abstained – agreed changes to the constitution which now mean that FIVE (instead of just one) opposition councilors will have to call in a cabinet member’s decision for it to be ‘scrutinised’ by the council’s overview and scrutiny committee – and approved anyway.
In the wake of publishing the above News From Crystal Palace received the following from a Lambeth council spokesman:
“Phase 2 includes the fit out, which consists of the fit out of the space located in the basement, including new toilets and changing rooms, new mechanical and electrical plant for the whole building, landscaping and a separate entrance to the gym located at the rear of the building.
“The Front two rooms on the ground floor will also be decorated as will the main hall. “It’s not ‘extra’ money, it’s part of the capital pot that has been in place since the start of the project.
“This is the second stage of the agreed construction programme, which we have been openly talking about as Phase One and Phase Two.
“See https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/what-is-happening-to-lambeth-libraries. “Phase 1 was completed on the 4th of May. “This consisted of the excavation of the basement, creation of a concrete shell complete with membrane and excavation and construction of a bricked compound to host the plant rooms.”
Further reading: LAMBETHWATCH: HOW DEMOCRACY WORKS IN LAMBETH May 30, 2018
LEVELS OF DEMOCRACY IN LAMBETH HAVE DECLINED SIGNIFICANTLY SAYS COUNCILLOR “People pushed away again and again – libraries users completely ignored” April 23, 2018
**In its Culture 2020 report Lambeth describe their neighbourhood library model – which includes the Carnegie – as:
5.21 Residents accessing the service at these neighbourhood locations will experience a reduction in the physical space and the existing service will be decommissioned to be replaced with the revised neighbourhood library service. This service will consist of selfservice facilities providing residents with access to a limited supply of books which they can loan and drop off, as well as.
Free Wi-Fi access.
Book stock will be planned and managed by the Lambeth library service on a rotating
basis, which will reflect local needs, culture and community languages.
Where the building permits there will be space for community groups and small
enterprises to hire.
To find the full report on the web please search Lambeth.gov delegated decisions
Then go to:
Decisions by Individual Cabinet Members, Cabinet and Committees
All executive members
Press: Find then go to:
Contract award – Carnegie Building