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:
Carnegie Community Trust CIO