Lambeth Council is faced with having £236million less every year, compared with 2010, to spend on council services – this is over a 56% reduction in our budget due to Tory Government cuts. This is money that is currently paying towards running a lot of important things, including parks, libraries, open spaces and keeping the streets clean, as well as services to protect children and vulnerable adults and tackling violence towards women and girls. Lambeth Council currently spends just over £10million in support of cultural services, which includes parks, libraries, sport and leisure centres. By 2018 this will drop to just over £6million. This means there will be less money for these services. You can find out more about our plans online at www.lambeth.gov.uk/culture2020
Lambeth Council has launched a 4 week consultation on the proposal for Durning Library to be the interim North Lambeth library, until a new site can be secured. The Council is not proposing to close Tate South Library. Instead they are proposing that Tate South Lambeth will be transformed during 2016 to provide a wider range of services to the local community.
Residents will still be able to access the library service at Tate South Lambeth, but it will be reduced – though it could be open for longer hours. To make the building financially sustainable we will need to explore what activities can be run on site which will generate income. The council proposes that this could be activities like keep fit classes or other wellbeing activities. But ultimately the building will need to make money to cover its costs. This will enable the building to remain open for the community. As local Councillors we will be fighting to ensure these activities are sympathetic to Tate South Lambeth, meet the needs of residents and maximise the library space. Already residents have suggested some really innovate alternative ideas for generating income and running the building and we will ensure these ideas are considered by the council.
If we can only afford one library for the north of the borough we believe need a new, modern library which meets the needs of residents. We know that the Council’s budget has been slashed by over 50% by the Tories so we think the Oval Gasworks site would be a great place for a new North Lambeth Library. We want a modern library on site with affordable space for community meetings, and that has sustainable funding from the scheme to keep it open and running in the future. We have launched a petition to call on developers to include a new library in their proposals. You can sign it here.
Please do take the time to read the consultation and take the online petition. We know these are difficult proposals but we do feel that they are the best way forward given the unprecedented level of cuts being handed down from central government to Lambeth.
Oval, Stockwell and Prince's Labour Councillors.