Lambeth Council had hoped the Beaufoy sale would be concluded by last night, but since it hasn't, the developer couldn't be present at the meeting due to commercial confidentiality issues. Local residents still don't know who the developer is to be. Cllr Harrison informed the meeting that the Beaufoy would be brought back into use and restored with housing brought to the site (40% to be affordable). The Beaufoy Trust will gain capital receipt to help young people into training and education, and a portion of the money they receive will be spent in the immediate area. Due to central government cutting the Council's capital grant budget by 60%, the Council are having to bridge the gap by selling off assets.
Until last night, I was optimistic that the site could be developed as part of a mixed-use education/housing site, but that is clearly no longer possible. I'm afraid I can't think of anything positive to say about this, so I will refer you to a statement made in 2006 by Cllr Sam Townend (old Labour councillor in Princes Ward) who said that Lambeth Council wanted to see:
(1) Ownership [of the Beaufoy] 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 [Beaufoy] Trust to reflect the
educational needs of people living in Kennington and Vauxhall now.
(3) The deployment of this community asset 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.
I don't think there's any doubt that this represents a failure on the part of the Council. Yes, it could certainly be argued that there has been a major financial crisis and a change of government, but the Beaufoy has been empty for over 10 years, well before either the financial meltdown or the ConDems.
As well as a U-turn on the Beaufoy, Lambeth Council have conceded to local pressure from the Save the Shelley School campaign and will be adding an additional 2011-2012 school class on the site, to be run by the Archbishop Sumner administration. You may remember that Lambeth Council argued the case that school places were needed in the south of the Borough, and made a statement accordingly in May 2011:
As there is no projected demand for an educational use for the Shelley site weA common sense reading suggests that Lambeth Council have changed their mind. Fair enough. But in an amusing manner, the expansion is not a straightforward concession to local pressure. Indeed, the 2011-2012 Archbishop Sumner primary class is only being added because excess pressure in the south of the Borough has meant that two "bulge classes" had to be added at schools in the centre of Lambeth (it wasn't possible to add classes in the south itself), which in turn put pressure on the centre of the Borough, and pushed the "bulge" upwards, creating a "domino" effect. So the Shelley site pressure group parents' have got their own way, seemingly against the wishes of the local councillors! Feel free to read the September 2011 Scrutiny Committee minutes if you're interested.
propose to sell the site to raise funds to help every child in Lambeth have a
primary school place in the future.
The Scrutiny minutes even state that the VNEB expansion won't require significant additional places until 2021, but who knows? Cllr Harrison did note that the Council was taking the Shelley site's population projections very seriously. Anyhow, having added a bulge class for 2011-2012, the bulge has to progress upwards throughout the school, so it will be nearly impossible to free up the Shelley site for six years! The Council are clear that there's no permanent funding for expanding Archbishop Sumner, but Cllr Harrison noted that it does keep the options open for the time being, and that much depends on what Southwark Council have planned because Archbishop Sumner could also be affected by a domino affect across the border due to the development of Elephant and Castle. All very complicated predictions...
Also, read those minutes carefully, and note too that a German-English bilingual free school seem to have made an application/expression of interest on the Shelley site, of which an outcome will be made known this month. Could it be that Lambeth Council is adding the bulge class to Archbishop Sumner (rather than, say Vaxuhall School) to prevent their site being purchased by a free school? If a Free School wanted to purchase the site, the Council would not be able to sell and claim their sought-after capital receipt, as the site would be tied up in Free school battles for years. Hmm. Very interesting, eh?
Black Prince Trust
The Black Prince Trust is close to finalising their lease on Site A of the old Lilian Baylis school. Site A comprises sports facilities which will be run by Sports Action Zone, which was handed over by Lambeth Council into a public trust earlier in the year. Work will start on the new gym once the lease has been finalised. The Council is concluding its selection of the developer for Site B, (that part of the school site to be sold off, including listed buildings). Work is being undertaken with community groups using the current site to help find them alternative accommoddation. eg. Your Story will be housed in the shops at Lambeth Walk.
Stock Tranfer for Ethelred Estate
There will be a ballot on Stock Transfer to a Housing Association for the Ethelred Estate which, if it went ahead, could unlock £100 million of investment into the Ethelred Estate and other Lambeth estates. The Association proposed is the only tenant lead housing association in the country.
Linear Park for Tyers Street
Cllr Harrison is, with VGERTA, looking at the posibility of turning Tyers Street into a linear park. This would certainly ease some of the green-space deficiency in the north of the Borough, and since all of the coaches were moved on, the streets seems to be under-parked. The proposal is still at a very early stage. Email your thoughts to Cllr Harrison firstname.lastname@example.org or Chrys (VGERTA Secretary) email@example.com
Finally, Lambeth Labour have assembled a VNEB "manifesto". Technically, that's party-political, so I'm going to direct you to the document that was handed out by Councillors at the KOV meeting and likely say no more until election time.