BEAUFOY INSTITUTE AND LILIAN BALYIS SITE - IMPORTANT BREAKTHROUGHS FOR COMMUNITY PROVISION
from RCDT LOCAL EVENTS INFORMATION & NEWS LISTING – 16 March 2006
Important breakthroughs on retaining community uses for the Beaufoy Institute and former Lilian Baylis School site were made at last night’s Area Committee meeting on the initiative of local Councillors Charles Anglin and Keith Fitchett respectively. They proposed the following resolutions. There were some amendments and the final texts await publication. The one on Lilian Baylis also relates to the proposed leisure complex at Kennington Park.
This Committee supports the long held community aspiration of bringing the Beaufoy Institute back into public use. The Committee calls for the original Institute building to be retained and protected as a local heritage site.
The Committee believes that any future use of the Beaufoy Institute must guarantee community access to the ‘Old School Hall’ in perpetuity.
The Committee also believes that there is an opportunity to provide innovative new uses for the remainder of the site in partnership with external bodies.
The Committee calls on the Council to set out a clear, transparent process and timetable that will allow community and other groups with an interest in the site to come forward with proposals for its future.
This Committee calls for the establishment of a Beaufoy Project Board, with representatives of the local community, to oversee the process of bringing the Institute back into public use.
This Committee notes that the activities of the Beaufoy Trust charities are based on the old Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth. The Committee therefore calls for any capital receipts obtained form the future disposal of the site to be spent locally within North Lambeth.
The Committee notes the statutory requirement laid upon the Council to obtain best value.
Lilian Baylis Site
The Committee notes the local public consultation on the future of the former Lilian Baylis site.
In the light of the consultation and the interests of the whole area, the North Lambeth Area Committee makes the following recommendations to the Council and the Executive:
- Keeping part of the Lilian Baylis site for community and sports facilities for local people
- Keeping a gymnasium if possible- and all potential purchasers to consider keeping the gym
- Money from the sale of the site to go to new recreation centre and swimming pool in North Lambeth
- Further consultation with local people about what’s on offer and what’s best for the community
- A local project board, including residents and local groups, to oversee community provision on the site
In addition, we are anxious that the new Recreation Centre and Swimming Pool should serve as many people in North Lambeth as possible (noting there’s going to be a new pool in the north of Bishop’s Ward in any case). We believe a central location would be best and therefore agree with the proposals to have it at or adjacent to Kennington Park. We condemn the previous administration’s policy of selling off public green space to developers and agree with the current Council policy of not reducing parkland or public green space. We resolve that the provision of the new centre and swimming pool should not reduce the area of the park.
We welcome Council assurances that play facilities in Kennington Park will be enhanced and not reduced as part of this exercise and call for incorporating the needs of play user-groups into the design process for the new recreation centre.
Please note that the final wording of what was agreed at the Area Committee is awaited.
From RCDT LOCAL EVENTS INFORMATION & NEWS LISTING– 24 March 2006
LILIAN BALYIS SITE AND BEAUFOY INSTITUTE - UPDATE
Lambeth Options for the Future of the Lilian Baylis Site
Lambeth Planning has issued a document setting out the response to residents’ views as expressed in last year’s consultation exercise. 729 households (out of just over 4,300 circulated) completed and returned the questionnaire. The ‘Save Lilian Baylis for the Community’ campaign group which held two public meetings handed in 662, of which 427 were from the consultant area, 583 respondents wanted the site re-sued for purposes other than as a school – 63 were opposed to that and 72 did not know. 32% wanted the existing buildings demolished. 17% some of them. 30% were against demolition, and 21% did not know. In terms of people’s first and second priorities for the use of the site leisure had 336 in favour, housing 228, community 264, education 215, health 147, employment 91, and other 27.
The recommendations being put forward by the Council in the light of the consultation are:
• keeping part of the site for community and sports facilities
for local people
• keeping a gymnasium if possible – and all potential purchasers to consider keeping the gymnasium
• money from the sale of the site to go to a new recreation centre and swimming pool for North Lambeth
• further consultation with local people about what’s on offer and what’s best for the community
• a local project board, including residents and local groups, to oversee community provision on the site
The full report can be found on the website: www.lambeth.gov.uk/lilianbaylis and copies can be consulted at Lambeth Walk Group Practice, Ethelred Nursery, Ethelred Tenant Management Office, Sure Start Kennington, Spring Gardens Community Centre and Neighbourhood Housing Offices.
Labour’s Sam Townend’s Comments on Last Week’s ENews/listing
In the Enews and events listing dated16 March I included an item on the resolutions put to the Area Committee by Councillors Anglin and Fitchett, with the following preamble:
‘Important breakthroughs on retaining community uses for the Beaufoy Institute and former Lilian Baylis School site were made at last night’s Area Committee meeting on the initiative of local Councillors Charles Anglin and Keith Fitchett respectively. They proposed the following resolutions. There were some amendments and the final texts await publication. The one on Lilian Baylis also relates to the proposed leisure complex at Kennington Park.’
Sam Townend, one of the Labour candidates for Prince’s Ward, has commented.
- He is ‘very concerned about’ my ‘adopting and taking on face value the Lib Dem resolutions passed without notice by the Area Committee.’
- ‘Resolutions of an Area Committee have no effect at all. They merely amount to representations to Lambeth Council. They might as well be resolutions of Vauxhall Constituency Lib Dem Party for all the effect they have. They do not amount to any action in relation to either site which is what I believe local people want, nor do they bind the Council in any way.’
- ‘To describe them as a "breakthrough" is, I am afraid, merely to adopt and endorse the Lib Dem party political position.’
- ‘On the Beaufoy, while I would say that many of the sentiments contained in the resolution are welcome, particularly the establishment of a Beaufoy public board, as was publicly discussed at the Area Committee the true position is no way as simple as suggested in the resolution. There remain difficult questions of ownership, delapidation, problems with the trust deed, the trusteeship of the Council etc. which are simply skimmed over to make a nice political statement which, I should say, is not without ambiguity (see the last paragraph). I personally would prefer to see the trusteeship turned out of the Council altogether so that the Board becomes a new group of trustees made up of local interested people.’
- ‘On the Lilian Baylis old site the resolution does not even amount to any serious political commitment. For example, take the second bullet point.’: ‘Keeping a gymnasium if possible- and all potential purchasers to consider keeping the gym.’
- ‘In fact, as you will know, there are three gyms and a sports hall in the old school site and this commitment, in so far as it amounts to one, is merely toward keeping a single gym if possible. It is mealy mouthed and very light in terms of any actual commitment.’
- ‘I am also concerned that you flag credit to be due to Cllrs Anglin and Fitchett (at their initiative) when the only reason why any of this has been put forward at all is because of the work done by the Campaign Group to save the site and by Kate Hoey and ourselves in highlighting the issue in our leaflets. If credit is to be given out I would ask you to be more even-handed in giving it out.’
- ‘You will recall that Cllr Anglin suggested that you were being party political by advertising a meeting of the Campaign Group to save the Lilian Baylis site some months ago, a Group that has absolutely nothing to do with the Labour Party at all. In contrast I think I have a legitimate complaint to make at you giving the incumbent Lib Dem councillors apparent credit in a much more politically sensitive a time shortly before the election.’
- ‘I am also upset and concerned that you included the penultimate paragraph of the resolution which is blatantly party political - in circumstances where the current Lib Dem/Tory administration are guilty of closing local community facilities for example the Kennington Park Day Centre for the Elderly - the only elderly persons day centre in the north of the Borough- and where there remains concerns about a number of other community and leisure facilities in the north of the borough viz. the current debacle over facilities in Kennington Park. ‘
Sam has asked me to issue a corrective statement containing the content of the above. He also wants me:
- to point out ‘that it is not a breakthrough’, ‘parts of it amount to a welcome political statement of intent but little more’, and ‘the deficiencies of the commitment, particularly, in relation to the Lilian Baylis old school site’.
- to give ‘credit to the Campaign Group and ourselves- name-checking us as you have done for the Lib Dems- for highlighting the issue and forcing the establishment at least to give the statements they have.’
- The Labour Team is Sam, Lorna Campbell, Stephen Morgan. Incidentally the third member of the Lib Dem Team is Rita Fitzgerald.
Sean Creighton’s Response
I make no apologies for regarding the resolutions as a breakthrough. Of course the local campaigning and lobbying has been important, and will continue to be important to determine outcomes which are acceptable in safeguarding community interests. On the Beaufoy I am aware of the complexities having carried out a lot of background research for Lady Margaret Hall Settlement, which has done a lot of the detailed lobbying around the problems involved in these complexities.
Readers who think I might have taken a Party political position should note that RCDT is not party political.
I asked Sam Townend to supply a Labour statement on both sites. After consulting his other candidate colleagues he has sent the following. Readers can compare these with the Liberal Democrat resolutions in last week’s listing and with the Planning proposals set out above.
Labour and Lilian Baylis
‘We are committed to retaining and enhancing the current community, leisure and sporting uses of the site and adding to it educational and other social uses of the site by and for local people. Importantly the retention for the use by the community of the three gyms and sports hall. We want to see an expansion of the uses of the site by local people including potentially by Ethelred nursery (but who I understand may be interested in the Michael Tippett site), use of the education facilities perhaps by Morley College or others, Sports England and the Sports Action Zone, and the large number of other local community organisations who could use the site or who currently use the site.
We won’t allow the loss of the open playing spaces if at all possible.
This does not mean that the site necessarily has to remain or entirely remain in the ownership of the Council. My preference would be for ownership to be transferred to a Community Trust, run and managed by local people. This obviously depends on if there is sufficient interest and commitment from people to carry out this work. The Council, as I understand it, also has a statutory duty to secure "best value" from the disposal of its property in the interests of the tax-payer, though I understand this duty can be modified where there are local community benefits. We would seek that modification.
We would also like to see Ethelred TMO residents play a role in such a Trust as the site is in the middle of their estate.’
Labour and Beaufoy Institute
‘We want to see the objects of the Trust which owns the Beaufoy Institute put into effect. Over the last decade or so this has been a wasted community asset. Lambeth Council have neglected their responsibilities as trustees of the Institute, for example, by letting it get into a state of disrepair such that it cannot, without significant work, be used for any present educational purpose. One estimate has put the work necessary to bring it into useable condition as £2 million. We would like to see:
(1) Ownership being taken away from the Council and handed back
to local people as trustees (obviously under the supervision of the
Charity Commission) if there is sufficient interest by local people
to make this viable.
(2) A modernisation of the objects of the Trust to reflect the educational needs of people living in Kennington and Vauxhall now.
(3) The deployment of this community assets towards the educational needs of people living in Kennington and Vauxhall now. The way this would be done would be a matter for the new trustees in consultation with residents of Ethelred TMO, Vauxhall Gardens and Kennington.
The above are dependent upon what is legally possible and would have to be supported by a future Labour Group of Councillors running Lambeth Council. Unlike the Council I do not have access to legal advice to ascertain what is possible or practical.’
‘The above nevertheless amounts to our local commitments in our election for the ward.’