For a number of years I’ve been working towards a brand new Grove Vale library. We had a scheme ready but the banking collapse killed that one. The latest scheme gained planning permission earlier this year. But getting a sensible section 106 that details the library has proved shall we say ‘ellusive’.
Council officers wanted to include a clause about deciding whether to take a library or money instead with realy complicated ocnditions and clauses. So complicated that lawyers have been having a field day. The uncertainty this caused meant its been hard for the developers who have to keep in mind what banks will lend against. Banks don’t like uncertainty.
The developer, and even more so I, became worried that the council was deciding to stall and planned to take the money. It would appear from assurances today that I was reading the runes wrongly.
TODAY the council leader Councillor Peter John has stepped in and I sincerely hope will break the deadlock. He is clear that Labour Southwark also want to keep Grove Vale library and also want to have a new double sized Grove Vale library. So he has today stated that the cabinet report on libraries being decided 18 October will have a recommendation for the new Grove Vale library. Nice one. Thank you Peter. I will hold you to this.
Why so much passion for a new Grove Vale library? Its right on the doorstep to the most deprived area around East Dulwich – the East Dulwich estate. It will bring much improved access to books, etc but also computers, study places and space to job hunt. Huge proportion of our library users are job hunting and studying. So a real lift for people wanting to do this that can’t easily do this at home.