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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Lambeth transfers ownership of Old Lilian Baylis site to the Black Prince Trust

Lambeth Council transferred ownership of 2.4 acres of land to the community on 21October.

Part of the former Lilian Baylis School site in Kennington has been transferred to a new community organisation, the Black Prince Trust (BPT), which will invest over £2 million in improving and extending sports and community facilities on the site. The Trust has received grant and loan funding from the Communitybuilders Fund and will be working in partnership with social enterprise GLL (Greenwich Leisure), the Community Action Zone, and many others to provide a wide range of sports, health and community programmes.

Council Leader Steve Reed explained 'This is the co-operative council in action. The council saves money but more importantly young people gain football and athletics facilities and a wide range of programmes aimed at getting kids active and engaged. The community doesn’t need an underused building costing the council thousands of pounds each year but it does need youth sports and activities to engage local children and give them a place to go.'

Brian Dickens, BPT chairman, said: 'Ownership of the site will allow the Trust to invest in facilities, management, and a long-term sustainable business plan. It will allow us to do what the ‘third sector’ does best: to respond to local needs.'

Kate Hoey MP, BPT trustee and co-chair of the Community Action Zone, said: 'From an abandoned school to the Black Prince Trust has been a remarkable journey. My thanks to all who persevered to make it happen despite huge obstacles. The facilities are not just for young people but for everyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of sport. Now that we control the site we can continue to deliver an even better programme than before.'

Caroline Forster, Communitybuilders Director at the Adventure Capital Fund said:
'We are excited to be able to provide over £2 million from the Communitybuilders Fund to support this significant asset transfer project. We feel the Black Prince Trust will have a real positive impact in their community by providing a range of attractive services and facilities to local people.'

The Black Prince Trust is planning to add
• a new running track
• high jump and long jump facilities
• new 5-a-side football pitches with improved floodlighting
• new changing facilities, a first aid office, and wheelchair accessible toilets
• a new community building incorporating shared workspace for the Trust’s community partners, meeting and training facilities, and a neighbourhood cafĂ©
• a new gym and wellness facilities.

The site has been used for community programmes since 2005 when Lambeth Council granted the Sport Action Zone (SAZ) a short-term licence while continuing to pay for building maintenance and security. Despite having no security of tenure, SAZ attracted significant funding from companies such as Nike and the Football Foundation. The council continued to work with the Sport Action Zone to find a permanent arrangement that worked for both parties. The offer of intensive support and grant funding from the Communitybuilders Fund has allowed the development of a sustainable business plan and the founding of the Black Prince Trust.

A ‘Community Service Agreement’ tied to the lease requires the Trust to provide a range of programmes that meet local community needs. The Trust will shortly be announcing the first of its ‘open days’ when locals can visit the site, learn about the new and improved facilities, and discuss what programmes they would like in the future.

The Trust has appointed GLL to manage the facilities for an initial 3-year period.

The council has also agreed to sell the other half of the Old Lilian Baylis site (Site B). The Council has exchanged contracts with Henley Homes which intends to refurbish the Listed Buildings and convert them into dwellings and a facility for the local community.

The transaction is subject to planning consent and the Council, at the end of the planning process, expects to obtain a substantial capital receipt that will contribute towards the Council's Capital Programme that is used to fund housing, roads, schools, leisure centres etc.

Furthermore, the Council also expects the scheme to deliver 40% affordable housing for residents of the borough.

Background notes:

1. The 5.7 acre former Lilian Baylis school site is a complex of two and three storey buildings with an open play area. The school is listed grade II as being of architectural or historic interest and is on the Heritage at Risk Register. The school opened in 1964 and ceased to use the site in 2004. The Trust has acquired 2.4 acres of the site including the existing gymnasium building, 2 tennis courts and a football pitch.

2. The North Lambeth and North Southwark Sport Action Zone (SAZ) was one of 12 Sport Action Zones set up in 2000 by Sport England in response to a Government-identified need to engage deprived communities, increase sport participation, address wider social issues through sport, develop partnerships and community capacity, and to act as a test-bed for new initiatives. South Bank Employers’ Group hosted the unincorporated SAZ and provided vital support from 2002 to April 2011.

3. The Black Prince Trust has been founded specifically to run the former Lilian Baylis site as a community facility. It is a registered charity. Under its Articles, at least 50% of trustees must be local residents.

4. The £70m Communitybuilders Fund, previously owned by the Department for Communities and Local Government is now an endowed fund, owned and administered by the Adventure Capital Fund. It supports neighbourhood-based, community-led organisations to become more sustainable through a mixture of loans, grants and business support. The Fund is managed on ACF’s behalf by The Social Investment Business. www.communitybuildersfund.org.uk

5. In June 2010, in response to a SAZ/ South Bank Employers’ Group bid, SIB appointed Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB) to prepare a ‘scoping report’ recommending how best to provide intensive support to develop a community hub on the Lilian Baylis site. Working closely with the council, SBEG and SAZ, CSCB carried out intensive business planning, site feasibility and design work, and organisational development culminating in a bid to the Communitybuilders Fund for a capital investment of £2 million (part loan and part grant) to enable the facilities to be improved and extended and to open up the prospect of further investment. A parallel application was made to the Council to transfer part of the site from Lambeth to the new charitable Trust.

6. Secretary of State consent to transfer at less than best market value was secured in June and, on 10 October 2011, the Black Prince Trust was assigned a 125 year lease aligned with a community service agreement setting out the community benefits to be delivered.

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Promoted by David Amos and Joanne Simpson of Prince's Branch Labour Party (Vauxhall Constituency and Lambeth Borough) all at 264A Rosendale Road, SE24 9DL