All posts by Frances Lamb

Asset Transfer Requirements

While negotiations continue with the Council on how a transfer of the Carnegie building into community ownership can be achieved, we thought it would be helpful to publish the key requirements that CCT has set out to Lambeth which would, in our view, need to be met to enable the asset transfer application to progress to the next stage.

It is clear that these requirements also align with the priorities of the local community  which has strongly expressed its views.

  1. The structure of the lease arrangements for the Asset Transfer must be acceptable to CCT as advised by its solicitor. The Community Hub project, to be viable, requires transfer of the whole building and grounds apart from the residential flats.
  2. It is essential that the Trust as a charity receives rent for the use of the basement as a gym at an agreed market rate, to ensure both that the Community gets compensation for the occupation of the basement by a commercial organisation and that capital funding grant applications might succeed. An independent valuation which supports the rental figures included in our Business Plan has been completed and is now with our solicitor.
  3. CCT is strongly advised that unless the occupier of the basement (GLL) can pay a market rent to the Trust, the legal structure should ensure that Lambeth Council makes good this deficit. The suggested structure is for Lambeth Council to have an intermediate lease from the Trust whereby CCT is paid this rent by Lambeth Council, and Lambeth enters into a sub-lease with GLL. This income will be invested in the Carnegie Community Hub to secure its future on a sustainable basis.
  4. Supported by our Conservation Accredited advisers, Butler Hegarty Architects, CCT will work to mitigate and improve the negative impact on the ground and first floors created by the design that has already been given Planning Consent. If necessary, new Consents will need to be sought.
  5. The existing Planning Consent does not allow for the self-employed business use which is the other key income stream in our Business Plan so this will need to be re-instated.
  6. The capital funding which Lambeth has allocated to the excavation of the basement and associated works on the other floors will need to be capable of being specified as Match Funding for the Heritage Lottery Application which will be made by CCT.

Carnegie Community Trust CIO

Carnegie asset transfer – preferred Community partner – start of negotiations with Lambeth Council

The Asset Transfer process to transfer the Carnegie building from Lambeth Council ownership to a charitable trust is a lengthy one.  The Stage 1 application was made in December 2015.   That application was submitted following the Community Hub development work undertaken by the Trust’s predecessor, the Carnegie Library Project Group between April 2012 and October 2015 when the Project Group incorporated as the Carnegie Community Trust CIO.  The application set out the following:

  • Conservation Statement
  • Architects’ Brief
  • Possible Use Options
  • Public Consultation
  • Preferred Option following consultation
  • Charity Registration and Constitution

The Stage 2 application involved producing a detailed Business Plan and this was presented to Lambeth’s Panel in April 2017 following our responses to a 30-question document, a meeting and then an assessment of the bid by Lambeth’s independent consultant (PricewaterhouseCoopers) in January 2017.

While this was going on Lambeth announced that it intended to go ahead with excavating the basement for a gym to be operated by Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) and obtained Planning Permission for this and also for community uses in the rest of the building.  The plans were not consulted on, merely exhibited, but, as a result of those decisions, the Trust must now determine how they impact on its Business Plan.

So, whilst the Trust has been selected as the Preferred Community Partner, its Business Plan makes three key assumptions:

  • A long-term lease of the whole building and grounds
  • An income stream from the basement
  • A design that accommodates the Library and all the other uses identified in the three Work Programmes in its Preferred Option and respects the architectural character of the building

Initial discussions with Lambeth indicate that there are difficulties in all three areas and it will take some time to see whether these can be overcome before any Heads of Terms can be agreed.

If initial agreement can be reached it will probably be necessary for the Trust to revise the Business Plan and for this reason there is no point in publishing it in full now.  However, an outline of the programmes and workstreams in the Business Plan were published here recently.  We will be arranging meetings with community groups to discuss and obtain their thoughts on our plans as soon as we have an outline agreement with LBL.

We will post regular updates here on the progress of these discussions with Lambeth and would ask that you encourage all interested parties to sign up for these at:
getinvolved@carnegiehernehill.org.uk

Carnegie Community Trust CIO

Lambeth communications about Carnegie Library

The announcement by the Council on Friday 21st July 2017 that the Carnegie Community Trust had been selected as the ‘Preferred Community Partner’ to bid for the Asset Transfer of the Carnegie Library building was not handled well by Lambeth Council.

Cllr Dickson has apologised to some residents, who met on Thursday evening to discuss  the proposed building works to the Carnegie, for the fact that neither of the two bidders – ourselves and the Carnegie Library Association – received their official letters by email on Friday until after leaflets had been delivered through letterboxes in Herne Hill announcing the decision early on Friday morning.

CCT had been informally and confidentially notified in advance of the decision and respected the Council’s request not to disclose this information until both bidding organisations had received their formal letters simultaneously from the Council.  We understood that these letters would be received on Friday 21st July ahead of a leaflet distribution planned for Saturday 22nd July.

This sequence of events is really unfortunate and we hope that future communications about the Carnegie will be better co-ordinated by the Council.

CCT will make every effort to communicate regularly and openly as plans for the Carnegie progress.

Carnegie Community Trust CIO

Carnegie: update on community asset transfer process

The Application Process for the Asset Transfer of the Carnegie Library building is now complete. Carnegie Community Trust has submitted our Business Plan, plus further information for Lambeth’s consultants and made a formal presentation to the Asset Transfer Panel made up of three officers and an independent advisor from Meanwhile Space. We now await the decision of the Council as to who will be the Preferred Bidder. If Carnegie Community Trust is successful in being selected as the Preferred Bidder, we will reach out to the whole community to share our plans and invite a united community approach to the Next Chapter of the Carnegie Library. Our first step will be to invite representatives of all the community and local groups to meet and talk. 

Carnegie Community Trust CIO

Planning Committee to consider GLL Planning Applications next Tuesday 7th February 2017 at 7pm

The Planning Committee’s Agenda is now online, along with the Officers’ report recommending approval.   Note, the venue is not the Karibu Centre in Gresham Road but:
Bolney Meadow Community Centre, 31 Bolney Street, London, SW8 1EZ.
For details, including the Lambeth officers’ report, go to:
https://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=600&MId=9770

Officers recommend that the Committee should:
In respect of Application 16/06270/FUL:
‘1. Resolve to grant conditional planning permission, subject to the completion of an agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 of the planning obligations listed in this report.
2. Agree to delegate authority of the Director of Planning and Development to:
(i)  Finalise the recommended conditions as set out in this report; and
(ii) Negotiate, agree and finalise the planning obligations as set out in this report pursuant to Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
3. In the event that the Committee resolves to refuse planning permission and there is a subsequent appeal, delegated authority is given to officers, having regard to the heads of terms set out in the report, to negotiate and complete a document containing obligations pursuant to Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 in order to meet the requirement of the Planning Inspector.’

In respect of Application 16/06271/LB:   Grant Conditional Listed Building Consent.

At the meeting
A maximum  of 3 objectors and 3 supporters are permitted to speak for 2 minutes each.   Ward Councillors may also speak for 2 minutes each.  Requests to speak must be made in advance.   For the committee procedures see:
http://carnegiehernehill.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2016-08-Lambeth-PlanningApplicationsCommitteeproceduresguidance.doc.pdf

Objections published online
After a lull since 10 January, Lambeth posted a further raft of Objections on 30 January.
There are now 164 Objections online, out of 166 Comments (there’s one ‘Support’ comment and one ‘Neutral’).  Presumably there are also submissions by email or letter.
To see the online Comments go to Lambeth’s Planning page and search for ‘Carnegie’: https://planning.lambeth.gov.uk/online-applications/

Carnegie Community Trust CIO

Season’s Greetings

Best wishes to all our supporters and everyone who cares about the future of our precious Carnegie Library.

Last month there was good news for another Carnegie Library.  The Old Library at Tuebrook in Liverpool, which had been closed for ten years, received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £3.9 million for restoration and re-purposing as a much-needed community building to be known as Lister Steps Carnegie Community Hub.   link

We hope to see progress in 2017 towards a similar outcome for Carnegie Library Herne Hill.

Carnegie Community Trust CIO

Carnegie Planning Applications: update

As of today, 137 Public Comments have been submitted online and can be read on Lambeth’s website.  Further comments will have been sent in by email and post.   Only Objections that are based on planning grounds can be taken into account; however most of the online Objections do specify valid planning grounds.

Given that the Applications, although made by GLL, are Council-supported, the Planning Committee can be expected to strive not only to be impartial, but to be seen to be impartial.   Their decision will be open to challenge in Court by way of ‘judicial review of administrative action ’.

Why the Applications should be refused  

The proposal is seriously non-compliant with the Lambeth Local Plan, which:

  • states the ‘agreed strategy’ for Carnegie as ‘a community hub and library’
  • safeguards ‘existing community premises’ unless certain conditions are met [none is met]
  • states that planning powers will be used ‘to ensure that special regard is paid to sustaining and enhancing the historic environment’ [no regard is paid to this]
  • requires ‘optimum viable use’ of a listed building [which a gym at Carnegie clearly is not]
  • rules out developing more than 30% of rear gardens generally [more than half is taken]
  • rules out destroying a garden which is the setting of a heritage asset [the garden is ruined]
  • requires adequate parking and servicing provision [new building consumes the small car park that is essential for servicing Carnegie in a cramped residential area]
  • requires adequate parking provision [residents all around Carnegie park on-street]

The development would:

  • create increased traffic in residential streets as gym users drive to Carnegie from early morning to late evening, all requiring on street parking
  • adversely affect the residential amenity of neighbours by increased noise and disturbance and worsened parking difficulty
  • adversely affect the residential character of the area
  • adversely affect the character and appearance of a Listed Building by the poorly designed extension and plant compounds, which would degrade both the building and its setting

The proposed Change of Use, if allowed, would result in the removal from PUBLIC ownership of a landmark listed building that is also registered (by Lambeth Council, in January 2016) as an Asset of Community Value under the Localism Act 2011.
ACV listing is a ‘material consideration’ for the Planning Committee.

Cooperative Council, ‘focusing on citizens’? 

One Public Comment (11 December) points out that the Council’s behaviour in relation to Carnegie contradicts its own Policy  ‘Behaviours for the Cooperative Council’:
‘Focuses on Citizens
This behaviour is about having a continual focus on the outcomes that are delivered for local citizens and other stakeholders.  It goes beyond ‘wanting to do the right thing’ to genuinely engaging with and listening to citizens, understanding their needs and helping them make decisions about the services they want and need.  Fundamentally, having a focus on citizens means we view them as an asset who can make a valuable contribution to the Borough”.

Locally, over the past two years we have not experienced willingness on the part of the Council to work with any of the interested parties in Herne Hill in the spirit of what is intended by this Policy.

Planning Committee

It seems likely that the case will go before the Planning Committee in January.   A regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 17th January.    No agenda as yet, but the final officer reports deadline is 4th January and the agenda publication deadline is Friday 6th January.

Committee members and their contact details are listed here: https://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/mgCommitteeMailingList.aspx?ID=600

We understand from Planning Officer Lauren Shallcross that although the Site Notice expired on 12 December ‘comments can still be submitted via the website up until the planning application is determined’.

Do make your views known, if you haven’t already done so.

Carnegie Community Trust CIO

CCT objects to GLL planning applications

Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) have lodged with Lambeth Planning two applications on Carnegie Library – one for full Planning consent, the other for Listed Building consent.

CCT has sent in a Letter of Objection which you can read here: link
The Letter has been added to our Project Documents page. In addition we have submitted online a shorter version of the Letter which should appear on Lambeth’s Planning website. You can see GLL’s application, including plans, and the online Public Comments, if you search for ‘Carnegie’ on the Council’s search page (warning – the page is often out of action, you may need to keep trying): https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/planning-applications/search-planning-applications

The Council has posted the statutory Notice of Planning application on the front gate at Carnegie. The notice is dated 21 November 2016 and the comment period is 21 days. You may comment either online, by post, or by email to planning@lambeth.gov.uk
Here is the official summary of the application; if you send a comment you should quote either the ‘FUL’ reference or the ‘LB’ one:
’16/06270/FUL |  Retention of the existing library together with the erection of a two storey extension to the south west elevation. Change of use and part excavation of the basement from a library (Use Class D1) to a gym and studio (Use Class D2) and the construction of an external plant compound provided at basement level. (Town Planning and Listed Building Consent 16/06271/LB) | Carnegie Library Herne Hill Road London SE24 0AG’

We understand the planning application is expected to go before the Planning Committee in January, 2017.

Carnegie Community Trust CIO

CCT Business Plan for Asset Transfer

As invited by Lambeth Council,  Carnegie Community Trust on Friday 28th October submitted our Business Plan for Asset Transfer of the Carnegie Building to community ownership.   The Business Plan – “The Next Chapter” – is a strong, exciting and challenging plan based on the Preferred Option worked up over the past two years in local consultation, which we are now seeking to put into action.   Information on the Preferred Option is on our website in Project Documents:  link

If we are invited by Lambeth to proceed with the application, the next step will be to create a CCT Membership Scheme, both to further widen support for the project and to help deliver it.    Lambeth will conduct an independent evaluation of the plan which will then go to a Panel chaired by the relevant Lambeth Cabinet Member.   This Panel will identify, based on the Plans submitted, which, if either, of the two organisations submitting Business Plans will be the “Preferred Bidder”.   The Carnegie Library Association has also submitted a Business Plan and we are interested to note that their plans and proposals are now similar to ours in a number of respects.   As reported in our September post, we made approaches to the Friends for a united Community bid.    However those were to no avail.

So whilst we are pleased about the new concurrence of ideas, we do wonder why it has been necessary for the Friends of Carnegie Library and the recently formed CLA to express such fierce opposition to CCT’s plans for the past two years.   Those actions significantly held up progress on Asset Transfer and allowed for the unwelcome emergence of the Council’s ‘gym-library’ proposal.    CCT is currently liaising with The Friends and others concerned to find suitable alternative accommodation for the groups displaced on closure of the Library.    We will also continue to develop our heritage proposals for the future of the Carnegie building whilst we await the Council’s decision.

Carnegie Community Trust CIO

GLL plans for Carnegie – exhibition THIS WEEK

On Friday (7th October) the Council announced an exhibition this week of GLL plans for Carnegie, again at  St Saviour’s Church, Herne Hill Road (next to St Saviour’s School).
Here is the text from the Council’s website :

“Carnegie library was temporarily closed at the end of March, to be refurbished and reopened as a community hub, with a new neighbourhood library, a gym in the basement and community space. Come and see plans for the building:

  • Wednesday 12 October from 9am to 1pm                     (tomorrow)
  • Thursday 13 October from 12pm to 6pm

Your chance to:

  • See the proposed plans for the building
  • Speak to representatives from GLL regarding the designs and the proposed gym space
  • Speak to local councillors about the future of the library and community space
  • Give feedback on the plans.”

Link to Lambeth’s flyer

PLEASE TRY TO SEE THE LATEST PLANS AND MAKE YOUR VIEWS KNOWN
This is the ‘pre-planning’ stage.

Carnegie Community Trust CIO