Save our Library

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mealsonwheels
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Save our Library

Postby mealsonwheels » Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:25 pm

As a local resident to Chatham Hall, we've had a letter (Jan 2017) from Wandsworth Council (just sent to 37 people at the moment) saying that they want to re-build the library where Chatham Hall is now, and make it a newer library building with improved facilities, and nine apartments above it. They will then turn the current library into shops and apartments (ker-ching!).

Our house backs onto the hall and they propose it to be three storeys, the height our house, thus blocking any light. Regardless of this, it is a huge site and there will be many construction vehicles accessing the construction site via Bollingbroke Grove and Cobham Close, past lots of nurseries and schools, and kids walking to school which is very hazardous. The construction will create lots of air pollution on the surrounding area too. The hall at the moment has a lovely big playground which will be no longer, and any cars using the new facilities will create more parking problems in the surrounding streets, because getting rid of the playground gets rid of the parking facilities as well. The current library is an "iconic" building- the windows are big, the facilities are not new, but it is a well loved building where many residents congregate and it feels like home. It may not be the most modern building, but it is iconic and a part of Northcote Road history. It is a shame to get rid of such an iconic part of Northcote Road. The Council could easily put a cafe and update the current site and the Council could easily renew Chatham Hall itself making it a better building. Because the library is not used all the time, I suppose the Council would get more rent from shops on that site instead of a library, and utilise what is currently a school playground. Thus they propose to build more apartments and more building work in what is such a tight space. The Council once did feasibility studies of making the current Library better and more modernised. It is such a shame they have abandoned that idea and want to change the face of Northcote Road forever. In their letter they said that they will create a much bigger buggy park in the 'new site'. I looked at the plans and the buggy park is much smaller than the area that is currently used, notably a large foot fall of buggies is on a Monday morning at Rhyme Time and it fits well in the space.

The Council plan to send a leaflet to the surrounding 5,000 residents in the coming weeks, public consultation in February, planning approx June 2017. This is at feasibility stage so hasn't gone to planning. Any ideas welcome to stop this awful plan. What is slightly annoying is that Wandsworth Council will submit planning to....Wandsworth Council i.e. to themselves.
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Flowermummy
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Re: Save our Library

Postby Flowermummy » Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:54 pm

how awful!

What will happen to the alphabet nursery (currently using chatham hall), which has in the last couple of years been rated outstanding?

Perhaps start a petition at change.org (or elsewhere)?
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juliantenniscoach
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Re: Save our Library

Postby juliantenniscoach » Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:37 pm

"Public consultation" = Lip service and rubber stamping what they wanted to do in the first place. :(
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mummyof1
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Re: Save our Library

Postby mummyof1 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:19 pm

Information from the council webiste - intrigued to how you can ensure flats are sold on car free basis! and sounds as if they dont want knowledgable librarians either - SELF SERVICE Kiosks - i always refuse to use the ridiculous self service point they have already and make sure i have a conversation with the librarian.


The council is currently holding an informal, preliminary stage consultation on proposals that could eventually see the existing Northcote Library replaced with a larger, better facility offering a wider range of library and community services just a stone’s throw away.

The plans would see a modern three storey library incorporating an exciting children’s library complete with buggy parking space, enlarged study accommodation, self serve kiosks for book loans, upgraded computer and digital learning areas and a coffee and drinks outlet next to the section containing newspapers, magazine and periodicals.

This new library would be built almost directly opposite the existing one on land currently occupied by council-owned garages at Staplehurst Court and Chatham Hall.

The development would also include community space to replace that currently offered at Chatham Hall and introduce a new business suite on its second floor offering small local businesses state-of-the-art communications technologies, adaptable work spaces and meeting rooms for hire.

If the plans were to proceed the current library would remain fully open to the public until the new one is ready to open its doors.

The council’s community services spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “We are holding these informal and very early stage discussions with local people to gauge the level of support for these plans.

“We have arranged some drop-in sessions at Northcote Library in the coming days and weeks so that residents can find out more about these proposals and then tell us what they think.

“Our intention is to provide a fantastic brand new modern library with a much greater range of services than is possible in the existing library building.

“The current library was built in 1969 and by today’s standards, is terribly inefficient in its use of space and its layout. At a time when demand for library services is growing, we want to improve and expand the facilities to better meet the meet the needs of local people.”

The cost of building the new library would be met by also constructing and selling 17 residential units spread across both sites. This would mean that local council tax payers would not have to pay a penny towards their new library.

Nine flats would be built as part of the new library development while another eight, plus retail space for two shops, would be provided on the existing library site.

Cllr Cook added: “This is a sensible and cost effective use of the council’s property portfolio. It means we can provide much needed new homes for Londoners plus a modern new library without having to raise council tax.

“At a time when many councils in London and elsewhere are closing down libraries and curtailing library services to save money we are looking to expand and improve our provision to give our residents a bigger and better Northcote library that’s fit for the 21st century.”

The current library building’s flaws include restricted access to its first floor children’s library, no room to safely and securely store buggies, no space to provide computer access on the ground floor, obsolete and inflexible shelving which does not make the best use of the available space, the building is poorly ventilated and lacking natural light and inadequate toilet and baby changing facilities.

The new residential accommodation will be car free as the area already boasts good transport links. This means people who move into these properties will not be eligible to buy parking permits so as not to add pressure on existing parking provision.

Information leaflets outlining the proposals are to be distributed throughout the area and there will be information boards installed at Northcote Library until Sunday, March 5.

Drop-in sessions are also being held at the library giving local residents the chance to ask questions face-to-face. These sessions will be held on the following date and times

Thursday, February 9 between 5pm and 8pm
Saturday, February 11 from 10am to 2pm
Wednesday, February 22, 5pm to 8pm
Saturday, February 25 between 10am and 2pm.

Residents who cannot attend these drop-in sessions can call (020) 7566 6463 to find out more or email info@northcotelibrary.co.uk. Information is also available at http://www.northcotelibrary.co.uk/.

* The popularity of Wandsworth’s library service – and the need to keep pace with the needs of local residents - was highlighted by recent figures which showed that last year was another record year for local libraries with the largest number of book issues in the capital.

The figures from public service accountancy body CIPFA show that in 2015/2016, Wandsworth residents were London’s most dedicated library users, borrowing more than 1.4m books.

Service improvements and branch upgrades have been key to this success.

Earlsfield Library has been completely redecorated, Battersea Library has been upgraded and the children’s library at Tooting has been completely refurbished. Work has now started on a brand new Wandsworth Town library while plans are being drawn up to replace another two branches at York Gardens and Roehampton with new state-of-the-art buildings offering a wider range of services.

There has also been investment in new e-resources and software, new systems to help people get the latest books as quickly and easily as possible. Link-ups with other organisations including Citizens Advice Wandsworth have enabled people to access other public services in their local branch.
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Goldhawk
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Re: Save our Library

Postby Goldhawk » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:28 pm

Surely the council should not be selling any land or property
Once sold it cannot be regained by the community

A better proposal would be to build new council housing for social rents
(and without any right to buy provisions)
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juliantenniscoach
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Re: Save our Library

Postby juliantenniscoach » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:21 pm

Two good posts before mine. Good points and information, thank you.
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papinian
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Re: Save our Library

Postby papinian » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:46 pm

The Wandsworth Council obsession with keeping council tax down is what is leading to proposals like this one which involves selling capital assets to fund current spending - rarely a good idea.

However, I don't think there is much appetite among the Wandsworth electorate for funding additional council housing. There are so many people in this borough who work so far to pay their large mortgages and are a little tired of subsidising those who are always expecting someone else to pay the bill.
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Goldhawk
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Re: Save our Library

Postby Goldhawk » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:56 pm

I am more than happy to fund additional council housing so long as the "right to buy" is removed. That way there is no reduction in the social housing stock and the council can continue to provide for those in need.

Right to buy = the lucky few buying at a discounted rate, selling at a big profit and the social housing is lost
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