Lobby Lambeth Cabinet, March 21st and Open Letter to Lib Peck

Library Campaigners lobbied Lambeth Cabinet meeting, 6.30pm, LIllian Bayliess School together with campaigners from the Cressingham Gardens Estate in Tulse Hill who have been fighting a long-running battle against Lambeth Council to save their homes and community, including winning a Judical Review against Lambeth for their poor resident consultation.

The Cressingham Gardens redevelopment was the main agenda item that evening. Library and housing campaigners protested together. The cabinet meeting ended in disarray in the face of local anger and dissatisfaction.






Laura Swaffield from Friends of Lambeth Libraries wrote the following to Lib Peck in advance of the meeting:

Dear Lib

I am extremely disappointed to find that Friends of Lambeth Libraries is not allowed to speak tonight.

It demonstrates how this council fails to grasp the effect of its chaotic libraries ‘plan’ on (a) public health and (b) equalities.

The recent LBL ‘assessment’ of the Head of Libraries’ viable plan to maintain all 10 libraries amounts simply to a catalogue of all the moves made by LBL officers to undermine it and try to delay it out of play.
LBL’s current plan makes nothing like the savings required, and makes no attempt to explain how it ever will.

This should long ago have been picked up by the cabinet members for neighbourhoods, and for health & wellbeing.
And you.

You still have the time – and the funds – to reverse this financial and moral disaster.
We conclude that you still have no idea what you are doing.

The four libraries under threat are already healthy living centres, with
– expert information and personal face-to-face advice on site,
– specialist collections on health,diet, exercise etc
– activities to combat loneliness, foster mental health and/or provide the kind of gentle exercise that people want and need.
– for many, the only warm, welcoming place they can go to.

Destroying them has obvious implications for public health AND a long list of disadvantaged people you should be protecting.

Instead, people will get ‘much reduced’ resources, with no staff – creating a near-zero service, in an unsafe environment where many vulnerable people will fear to visit, and unescorted children must be banned completly for legal reasons.

In these circumstances, to blow £3-4m on two useless gyms is an outright misuse of public funds.

You will be hearing from our lawyers tomorrow.

Laura Swaffield
Chair, Friends of Lambeth Libraries

Picture by Vivienne Lewis