Slowly and surely they are chipping away at our green space. The green on Albert Embankment has just disappeared to become a hotel lobby. There is a planning application affecting Jubilee Gardens, and the judicial review of Lambeth Walk Open Space comes up next week.
If this were not enough, Lambeth have quietly put the parkkeepers house in Archbishops Park up for auction on 19 July. (For a guide price of only £300,000, so if you have the readies and fancy a detached house in a park near Waterloo.....) But this was once park and we do not have enough green space. If Lambeth really do need the money the obvious thing would be to tout it round possible buyers who might have put it to good community use. But youth scheme etc have not been informed and cannot raise this sort of money at such short notice.
Plus if it is ever decided that the park needs indoor services to support the outdoor, eg one oclock club, youth centre, resource centre for schools etc, the existing building will have gone and any new building will have to come from green space.
All this comes in the middle of Lambeth promoting consultation and democracy, yet did not bother to inform the park user group. Even though we are supposed to be working on a regeneration bid in partnership with them.
Local response has been strong. But the louder the voice the more Lambeth will understand how much green space means to people who have very little. E-mails to the Chief Executive Faith Boardman on [email protected] or the Chair of the Environment Committee Cllr McGlone on [email protected] Amazingly it seems that officials did not tell them of this decision, so there is every chance the auction will be stopped if we show we care about the retention of community assets.
Sarah, Chair, Friends of Archbishops Park
PS Two local councillors, Leslie Boodram (Lab) and Peter Truesdale (LD) have written asking for this to be stopped. Some sanity up here. Less in Brixton.
Apparantly though the land was at one time part of the park but has been built on it no longer counts as green space. Hence our worry that not just this building, but the far larger Team Lambeth yard will be declared redundant. This part of the park is ex-GLC but as far as we know there are no covenants attached. So it looks legal. Whether it is moral or not....... Certainly if they sell and then three years down the road decide that they want a one o'clock club or facilities for the schools who use the park or whatever, they would have to build into the green space.
The thing is getting more curious. The Deputy Leader of Lambeth Council was at the Parks Forum today (Saturday) and, though acknowledging that there had been no consultation, said that the auction would go ahead, essentially because Lambeth needed the money. Yet one of our local ward councillors received an e-mail the day before saying that Lambeth agreed that they were over-hasty and were withdrawing it from auction. All so strange. If it does go ahead Friends of Parks groups in North Lambeth are considering a real protest next weekend to cover other issues like the judicial review over the building on Lambeth Walk Open Space, which takes place next week, and the planning application affecting Jubilee Gardens. Its a great area. But we do need a balance.