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Upper Norwood Library Campaign


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#16 guineagirl

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 06:48 PM

I did a bit of Googling and emailed Sara Bashford and Mike Fisher, so looks like I got the right names! Hurrah!

Already had a response from Bashford saying 'this is all down to Lambeth and I urge you to take it up with their local councillors'.

I replied to her saying 'well then, to allow me to put YOUR perspective to them and get them to respond, can you confirm why 2 councillors from the other side of the borough are on the library board, and why you only gave Lambeth 7 days to respond? If you can give me your view on those 2 points then I can raise this with my councillors'

That's put the ball back in her court! Have emailed the Knights Hill councillors tonight as well so will see what happens next...I feel like I am being their go-between...if they need a negotiator I can volunteer!

#17 RetiredMember2

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 01:59 PM

Thanks for posting the feedback GG. Any help you, or anyone else, can give to the UN Library Campaign will be much appreciated, please check out http://www.unlc.org.uk/ for further info and application form. Your library needs you!

A brief resume of situation re legalities of the UNJL commttee is that Croydon breached the Joint Library Agreement, as amended in 2006, by nominating four Cabinet Members as their representatives on the Joint Library Committee for the past two years. Their nominees conflict with the 2006 amendment that “The Joint Committee shall consist of eight members, four from each party, drawn from elected members of each party (borough) who shall be appointed in accordance with Sections 15 and 16 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989. Furthermore at least two Members from each party should represent the Upper Norwood area and at least one should have some executive responsibility for libraries.


On the basis of the above breach by Croydon, Lambeth contested the presence of the inappropriate Croydon nominees at the aborted June 2010 AGM of the Upper Norwood Joint Library Committee and boycotted the (subsequently aborted) AGM of September 2011 for the same reason. Independent legal advice, taken by the Upper Norwood Library Campaign, has confirmed that a meeting of the Upper Norwood Joint Library Committee that did not satisfy the requirement for at least two local councillors and all other requirements of the Agreement would be unconstitutional and unlawful.

#18 RetiredMember2

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 12:06 PM

Sorry about the small print. Did not realise before posting. Here it is in proper size


Thanks for posting the feedback GG. Any help you, or anyone else, can give to the UN Library Campaign will be much appreciated, please check out http://www.unlc.org.uk/ for further info and application form. Your library needs you!

A brief resume of situation re legalities of the UNJL commttee is that Croydon breached the Joint Library Agreement, as amended in 2006, by nominating four Cabinet Members as their representatives on the Joint Library Committee for the past two years. Their nominees conflict with the 2006 amendment that “The Joint Committee shall consist of eight members, four from each party, drawn from elected members of each party (borough) who shall be appointed in accordance with Sections 15 and 16 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989. Furthermore at least two Members from each party should represent the Upper Norwood area and at least one should have some executive responsibility for libraries.


On the basis of the above breach by Croydon, Lambeth contested the presence of the inappropriate Croydon nominees at the aborted June 2010 AGM of the Upper Norwood Joint Library Committee and boycotted the (subsequently aborted) AGM of September 2011 for the same reason. Independent legal advice, taken by the Upper Norwood Library Campaign, has confirmed that a meeting of the Upper Norwood Joint Library Committee that did not satisfy the requirement for at least two local councillors and all other requirements of the Agreement would be unconstitutional and unlawful.

#19 whydelilah

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 04:03 PM

Is there any more news on this? I emailed various councillors about this and have been studiously ignored. Except by one person who isn't on the board (but who probably should be) and who replied to say thanks for copying them in.

#20 RetiredMember2

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 04:28 PM

Is there any more news on this? I emailed various councillors about this and have been studiously ignored. Except by one person who isn't on the board (but who probably should be) and who replied to say thanks for copying them in.

Thanks for taking time to email those (not) concerned!

I've not reported back so far as the matter has been handed to the legal teams but you can read the latest at http://www.crystalpa...awq-say-lambeth

I understand Croydon want to sell the building. At the moment Lambeth are refusing to agree and are trying to find a way through this mess. And what a mess, a big party political bun fight with the library's future at risk. You'll see that after the 2010 election the local UN Croydon Cllrs went from Tory to Labour and it was that that intstigated Croydon's unconstitutional selection of non-local Tory Cllrs to the UNJL committee.

There will be time for a public meeting real soon. Watch this space.

#21 kibitzer

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 04:51 AM

Are there any big names or let's say recognisable names lined up to buy the library I wonder?

#22 guineagirl

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 10:15 AM

My latest response from Sara Bashford explained (she at least deigned to give me a proper explanation) that the joint agreement was never ratified by Croydon council in 2006 as their leader at the time felt they wanted to reserve the right to appoint the 'best' candidates for the library board rather than have to choose local ones - she specified that the people appointed to serve on the board were 'more senior' than the local candidates.

So it appears Croydon have never really been on board with the agreement at all and wanted it their own way all along...I don't know the history of the management prior to '06, though?

Why Croydon have such a problem with local councillor representation on the board I have no idea...I don't think I'm going to get anything more constructive from Councillor Bashford.

In an ideal world...surely a revised joint agreement could have been proposed....perhaps Croydon appointing 1 local councillor to the board and 1 of their own choice? Compromise doesn't really seem to be on the agenda here, though.

#23 Norwood lad

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 11:16 AM

All a big ploy by Croydon to dump the library really isn’t it.

I wonder if we should be asking if they leave us in the lerch what are they going to do with the funding for the library that is supposed to be for the Croydon residents of CP who pay for it though their council taxes or will that just mysterious disappear as often seems to be the case.

You would have thought it logical having local councillors looking after the local facilities for local residents rather than senior councillors who have little understanding of the place. At any rate a local councillor would still have access and be able to ask advice from senior councillors and anyone else in Croydon that looks after all the libraries would they not so why is there a need for two senior councillors from other parts of Croydon?

It seems an obvious compromise for Croydon to appoint one local councillor and one ‘senior’ councillor to the board but we all know its got nothing to do with what’s right for the library.

Can’t we get local MP’s to exert some pressure on the local authorities

#24 RetiredMember2

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 11:29 AM

Are there any big names or let's say recognisable names lined up to buy the library I wonder?

One prolific local developer has been chasing this site and Bell House, the building that backs onto the UNJL as he is keen to build yet another block of flats. He'll keep the frontage of the building but rip out the internals and build out and up to create another large housing complex. Wonder if there'll be any amenities left for his future buyers/tennants to utilise as there'll be no library, no parking, no school or GP places (local schools reached saturation level as have GPs) round these parts, but hey who cares when there's a quid or two in the offing?

My latest response from Sara Bashford explained (she at least deigned to give me a proper explanation) that the joint agreement was never ratified by Croydon council in 2006 as their leader at the time felt they wanted to reserve the right to appoint the 'best' candidates for the library board rather than have to choose local ones - she specified that the people appointed to serve on the board were 'more senior' than the local candidates.

So it appears Croydon have never really been on board with the agreement at all and wanted it their own way all along...I don't know the history of the management prior to '06, though?

It's a mystery that Croydon felt so compelled to find four senior officers to sit on the UNJL committee after they had agreed, along with Lambeth, that 2 Cllrs from the UN area would represent each borough. This was recorded in the mintues of the UNJL committee meeting of 10th March 2006. Since then, it is worth noting, Lambeth have paid the lion's share of the funding. To date it has contributed best part of £200K more than Croydon but the building is owned 50/50.

It's no wonder Croydon have been chatting with a number of developers, keen to aquire a nice piece of real estate as to flog it now, and split the sale would mean fiancially Croydon is a winner. Plus it means the senior officers can bring the booty back to the heart of the Tory the run borough where they can feather their party political nests and tell all who will listen what a good move it was to pull out of the backwater, hicksville, borderlands of CP. It really is the wild wild west...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hYV-JSjpyU

#25 whydelilah

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 12:28 PM

I'm actually speechless with anger. The sheer arrogance getting a valuation without regard to the opinions of Lambeth as the joint owner is so sterotypically Tory it's almost amusing. Does the library sit in Croydon Borough? I hope it doesn't. I'd love for any application for a change in use to be dismissed out of hand by the borough it does reside in.

#26 RetiredMember2

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 01:12 PM

It's really quite staggering!

However Croydon have not been able to officially bring in the valuers. What Croydon have done is told Lambeth that it intends to appoint valuers. Lambeth responded by pointing that they could not do so without both parties (joint owners) agreement. It's unclear how Croydon will obtain that agreement because as Guineagirl points out there does not appear to be room for compromise.

Best thing those concerned can do at the moment is to lobby their Cllrs and MPs. The CPCA, that has been supporting the UNJL for many years, is working hard to secure a future for the library for more info see http://cpca.org.uk/ new members are very welcome.

"Libraries are reservoirs of strength, grace and wit, reminders of order, calm and continuity, lakes of mental energy, neither warm nor cold, light nor dark. The pleasure they give is steady, unorgastic, reliable, deep and long-lasting." Germaine Greer

"There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all." Jacquie Kennedy Onassis

"A library is a delivery room for the birth of ideas, a place where history comes to life." Norman Cousins


"There is not such a craddle of democracy upon earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration" Andrew Carneige

#27 RetiredMember2

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 06:07 PM

It's unclear how Croydon will obtain that agreement


The Good, The Bad and The Ugly episode II

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hYV-JSjpyU

I have just been made aware of a letter sent to Lambeth's Chief Executive, Derrick Anderson, dated the 9th Nov 2011, from Jon Rouse, Croydon's Chief Executive in which Mr Rouse declares that Croydon have no desire to enter into any further agreement re UNJL and sets out the following option:

1) Lambeth buys Croydon out and keeps library running
2) Lambeth leases Croydon's share of library for pepppercorn rent
3) Lambeth agrees to sell.

#28 kibitzer

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 07:48 AM

I havent read all the posts but it doea appear that Croydon have been looking at closing this facility one way or t'other for a good few years - has probably had a strategy in place to close the library and just waiting for an opportunity. Probably an "unnamed" local developer lined up as well, manipulation of the committee make up and biding their time until something like this occurs - ideal a disagreement with Lambeth and poor economic times and their clandestine- or not so nowadays- policy can be brought out fromunder the counter and implemented. I havent been to any of the meetings and know very little from what I read on VN but that is what I can read into this from arms length. It is hardly a vote winner and their chances of ever gaining the Upper Norwood/Gipsy Hill wards is nil I would have thought.

#29 guineagirl

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:06 PM

I know there has been lots of dismal stuff going on in the economy and none of this should really come as a surprise, but this feels to me like the straw that's broken the camels back.

I just feel so fed up and miserable when I think of how high-handed and dismissive elected politicians can be with their electors. It took 3 quite strident emails from me to get anything other than a dismissive 1-liner from Sara Bashford. I don't have the heart to email her any more if she and her colleagues have already made up their mind they want the library turned into luxury flats....it's just so depressing. Do we have any Croydon councillors who post on here who'd care to share their opinions, at all?

#30 RetiredMember2

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:43 PM

Soon it will be time to saddle up and get on the save our library campaign trail!

A venue is in the process of being booked in order to hold a public meeting. Given the seriousness of the situation and the level of concern a space with at least 100 capacity is needed. I will post when and where details shortly.

As from tomorrow there will be a comments book in the library aimed at everyone who uses the Upper Norwood Library to record their visit. This will help to compile a record of how many people use the many services of the UNL and create a profile of what a vital and well loved part of the community it is.

"I received the fundamentals of my education in school, but that was not enough. My real education, the superstructure, the details, the true architecture, I got out of the public library. For an impoverished child whose family could not afford to buy books, the library was the open door to wonder and achievement, and I can never be sufficiently grateful that I had the wit to charge through that door and make the most of it. Now, when I read constantly about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that the door is closing and that American society has found one more way to destroy itself." Isaac Asimov

"Libraries are not just for reading in, but for sociable thinking, exploring, exchanging ideas and falling in love. They were never silent. Technology will not change that, for even in the starchiest heyday of Victorian self-improvement, libraries were intended to be meeting places of the mind, recreational as well as educational." Ben Macintyre

"Book lovers will understand me, and they will know too that part of the pleasure of a library lies in its very existence" Jan Morris.