April 9, 2016 demo, which took place on the day that the occupation of Carnegie Library (Herne Hill) ended

Until its closure earlier this year, many members of the Friends of Belair Park were regular users of Carnegie Library, which played an essential role in education and community events. It would be a tragedy to lose this major public facility.

I reproduce the words of Stephen Carlill for those of you who wish to protest:

Dear All,

Applications for Planning Permission and Listed Building consent have been made to change the use of Carnegie Library and carry out extensive works to the building and on the Reading and Wildlife Garden.  If these were to go ahead they would effectively exclude any library or other community use of the building or garden and it would be only a fee-paying gym.

Please email the council objecting to the applications by the closing date for objections, which is Monday 12th December.  Below is a list of important points that it would be helpful for you to include.  If you do not have time to write something yourself then please just copy and paste the list into your email.  This is an exercise where the number of objectors is at least as important as what the objectors write.  Every member of your household should therefore email separately if at all possible.  If you can get others to email as well that would be even better.

Your email should be sent to planning@lambeth.gov.uk and must to be considered include:

  1. Carnegie Library SE24 0AG
  2. Applications numbered 16/06270/FUL and 16/06271/LB
  3. Your name
  4. The address where you live


Important points to make are:

  • The Traffic Assessment included in the applications indicates that a substantial proportion of the customers for the gym will come from outside the area and the proposed opening times mentioned in the applications are 6am to 10pm weekdays and 7.30am to 10pm at weekends, with the possibility of even longer hours.  All of this is completely inappropriate to the wholly residential area in which the library is situated.  Residents should not have to suffer the disturbance of loud voices in the streets and car doors slamming.  The Assessment says many of the gym users will travel to and from it by train or bus but this is not credible and there would be increased pressure on the limited amount of parking space in the roads round the gym.
  • The proposed excavation of the basement is not deep enough to accommodate gym uses in which the participants jump or raise up  their arms.  It is proposed to hold exercise classes, including “higher energised” ones, on the ground floor but a group of people jumping up and down in any one of those rooms would generate vibration and noise which would preclude the use of the other rooms.
  • Lambeth’s Planning policies require construction on back gardens to leave at least 70% unbuilt on and all construction to be a positive response to what is there already.  The proposed construction would take up more than half the Reading and Wildlife Garden, leaving only a strip separated from the building, and destroy mature trees.  The garden is a public one and the setting of the Listed library building.  It should be left alone.  If construction is necessary it should be in keeping with the building and take place on the van park.
  • The information provided so far has been grossly inadequate.  The applications have been given only minimal publicity.  They are available only on the Council’s website and then only intermittently.  The application documents repeatedly assert that implementing the proposals would “aid and support” the building but no details are provided.  There is no indication of where the exercise classes would take place.  We are told that this would be in community spaces but all the accommodation has this label and nowhere is set aside for library or other community uses.  There is nothing  about measures to contain vibration or noise, about air conditioning on any floor of the building or about smell inside or outside the building.


The effect of the works on the stability of the building, asset transfers, leases and property rights are not Planning considerations and therefore have to be ignored in the Planning process.   I therefore suggest that you do not mention them.

I am hoping that some of the recipients of this email will have the time, patience and dedication to go through the applications on Lambeth’s website but most of us obviously cannot do that.  I am therefore attaching what I think are the two most important documents, namely, an extract from the Transport Assessment and the proposed layout of the basement and garden areas.

Stephen Carlill




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