02 October 2015

Lambeth announces long term plan for future of Minet library and local parks

Lambeth have announced the results of the 2020 consultation with a long term plan for the future of local libraries and parks in an era of deep cuts by central government.

With the borough losing 50% of its funding since 2010 - £200 million by 2018 - the council has been undertaking a review of its cultural services, covering libraries, parks and other leisure facilities. You can read more about the consultation earlier this year and the council’s initial proposals on Vassall View here.

Following feedback from residents and local councillors, Lambeth have decided not to proceed with the sale of the Minet library building and instead will from April 2016 work to transform the site into a healthy living centre in partnership with social enterprise GLL. This will include:

  • A gym with membership at affordable council level cost.
  • A self service library where residents can borrow and drop off books - this will contain less books than the current library, but the stock will be replenished by the Lambeth library service on a rotating basis taking into account local needs, such as Vassall’s diverse local cultures and language requirements. 
  • Free wi-fi access, computers and study spaces for residents.
  • The Minet archives will remain on the site while the borough explores during 2016 the options for another location for them in Lambeth.
  • Space will be provided for community use and small enterprises on a hire basis.
  • Total opening hours will double while the gym is open to around 70 hours - including access to the self-service library.
  • While there will be no permanent library staff on the site, provision will be made in the budget for staff to provide some services, such as children's reading hours.

The above changes will take a few months to complete during which part of the building will be closed for refurbishment (the archives section will remain open). This will be the first stage of the Minet building's redevelopment: the council will by 2020 develop a long term solution for the site which could include the provision of social housing and, if the healthy living centre is successful, the retention of this model into the future. 

A full explanation of the plans for library services across the borough can be read here

Talking about the plans for the Minet library, Jane Edbrooke, cabinet member with responsibility for cultural services, said:

"We have listened to feedback from residents and local councillors: both made it very clear during the consultation that they didn’t want the Minet library site sold. We still need to make savings as Tory cuts are slashing our resources in half and by law we need to set a balanced budget. This means we do need to find new ways of delivering services, and by working with GLL we will keep the building in community use, with a new gym and a self service library facility that will include study spaces and free wi-fi. We will be working with residents on the long term options for the site into the future. “

Vassall councillors Anne Gallop, Paul Gadsby and Jacqui Dyer, said:

"We are pleased that Lambeth have listened to our feedback and are keeping hold of the MInet library site for community use, including a library self-service system. Given the huge cuts being imposed on the council by the Tories, supported during the coalition by Lambeth Liberal Democrats, we believe this is the best solution on offer.  We will be working with the community in the coming years on the long term plans for the libraries in the run up to 2020."

Local parks in Vassall

Following the outcome of culture 2020 consultation, Lambeth will work with resident groups to try and manage the impact of government cuts. There will be good news for Myatt’s Field Park including:

  •  Heritage lottery funding commitments worth around £3 million will continue.
  •  Paddling pools and toilets in the park will remain open.
  • The park will continue to be locked at night by council staff.
  • The council will continue to work with residents on their business plan for future development of the park.

For Slade Gardens, the council will continue to work with residents on the business plan for the park and the adventure playground. There are other plans for the park, including funding for the repaving of Ingelton Street that will pedestrianise the area and create a new improved entrance to the park.

Vassall councillors Anne Gallop, Paul Gadsby and Jacqui Dyer, said:

“We are glad that a lot of services in our area are being protected as particularly Myatt’s Field Park which is heavily used by residents in the area.”

If you have any views about these changes, please do contact your councillors below:

Councillor Jacqui Dyer - 07920 548463 -jdyer3@lambeth.gov.uk

Councillor Paul Gadsby - 07814 567 690 - pgadsby@lambeth.gov.uk

Councillor Annie Gallop - 
07920 560175 - agallop@lambeth.gov.uk