Lambeth Council has started an ‘options appraisal’ over the future of the Lambeth Archives at the Minet Library. The Council closed the Minet along Knatchbull Road in March 2016. The Archives remain open.
The ambition of the Labour administration has been to turn the Minet and Carnegie Libraries into book-ish gyms. The plan is to hand them over to Greenwich Leisure Limited.
The future of the Lambeth Archives will be one of the first decisions taken by Cllr Matthew Bennett, the incoming Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Business and Culture. It is likely to be a decision that involves regeneration, business and culture…
The background document for Cllr Bennett claims:
“It is generally recognised that the present location for the borough archives are not fit for purpose and the storage conditions do not meet the necessary standards.”
Who ‘generally recognises’ this?
Lambeth’s book-ish gym partners, Greenwich Leisure Limited?
Certainly not Lambeth Council back in July 2012. A Cabinet decision [pdf] taken at the time agreed on the:
“Continued investment and further development of the Minet.”
£35,000 was put aside by the Council towards a feasibility study to help local groups manage the site.
The criteria that will now decide on the future of the Lambeth Archives include:
“Affordability, accessibility, using new technologies and maximising income generation.”
It is the maximising income generation that will prick up the ears of Greenwich Leisure Limited.
Lambeth Council is still claiming that the Minet will:
“Reopen in 2017 as a healthy living centre with a self-service neighbourhood library.”
It would seem that the combination of the healthy living centre [GYM] and a self-service neighbourhood library [help yourself bookshelves] means that the Archives needs to be pushed out elsewhere.
One suggestion put forward by a former Cabinet member was to move the Archives to Brixton Rec. This idea was floated by Cllr Jane Edbrooke, the original brains behind book-ish gyms.
Cllr Edbrooke was shunted aside from her Cabinet role for Book-ish Gyms when her plans met local opposition.