In September 2016 Lambeth Council invited detailed technical and financial proposals from the community to take an Asset Transfer (i.e. ownership) of the Carnegie building. Now the bidding process is complete, the Carnegie Community Trust (CCT) has been judged to have submitted the stronger bid. But, there is a way to go before the building can be transferred.
Lambeth has a contract with Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) to operate a gym in the basement and this requires excavation of the basement. Whilst this work is carried out Lambeth will be making some modifications to the building as a whole, including relocation of toilets. Unfortunately the building is unlikely to reopen until this work is completed but we are pressing for the earliest possible date.
CCT remains opposed to the idea of a gym. We also have serious concerns about some of the additional alterations that Lambeth and GLL propose to make to the building before it transfers to us. Some of these are poorly thought out and would seriously damage this wonderful Grade 2 listed building. Now that the Trust is the Preferred Community Partner we will meet Lambeth and GLL to see if we can secure amendments to these proposals.
We have commenced discussions with Lambeth about the terms on which the Trust and GLL will occupy the building and other aspects of our proposed business plan. The Trust will only proceed if and when the terms are right. If we are able to negotiate the right terms we can agree a date for the asset transfer and re-opening of the building.
Our intention is to work with the community to develop a Community Hub offering three programmes – “Learning and Enterprise”, “Health and Wellbeing” and “Performance and Arts”.
CCT will publish a finalised Business Plan as soon as we are confident of a satisfactory outcome to the discussions with Lambeth. We will also meet local groups, circulate a newsletter and hold a public meeting reaching out to all who live in Herne Hill, Coldharbour and neighbouring areas. We want to throw open membership of the Trust and hope many local people will join.
The present Trustees, plus we hope some new ones, will undertake the detailed work on fundraising and construction, which will take some time. In the meantime, as soon as we acquire the building we want to get it back into use so that there will be opportunities for everyone to get involved in the activities that most interest them. It will be a true community building once again.
We will continue to provide regular updates on our website including invitations to join CCT and to volunteer with the project. We look forward to meeting and to hearing your suggestions for an exciting future for the Carnegie.
Carnegie Community Trust CIO