Earlier this month the Beaufoy Institute reopened its doors after years of lying empty and neglected. It's now the home of the Diamond Way Buddhist Centre, after Lambeth Council took the decision to sell the site and use the proceeds to invest in our community's priorities. Lambeth's Cabinet Member for Finance Councillor Paul McGlone made the following speech at the event:
There is a saying attributed to Mark Twain that “History Does Not Repeat Itself, but It Rhymes”.
That is the sentiment I feel most today standing in this beautiful building that has many ‘ribbons of history’ that rhyme with Lambeth’s past, present and now its future around education, learning and arts.
The lovely red-brick facade of the Beaufoy Institute has looked over Black Prince Road in Lambeth for more than a century, and has always stopped people in their tracks with its beautiful architecture and artistry.
I am personally fascinated with the connection of this building and the progressive Doulton family and the history of Lambeth Doulton ceramics and pottery.
My understanding is that this building was built using a patented Doulton Tile system, and a Doulton was one of the original school governors of the institute.
Others are best place to reflect on the heyday of the Beaufoy Institute as a place of learning. But I would like to introduce the friend I brought with me, Mr Roger Bowdery, who went to school here at the Beaufoy Institute 55 years ago!
The many wonderful connections with Lambeth’s past that connect with this building must be captured for the future, and I hope they are.
But fast forward to more recent times and Lambeth Council’s involvement.
I first came to this building in 2007 when I was Cabinet Member for Regeneration and then in 2008 as Cabinet member for Children and Young People.
Having stood empty and neglected for some years, there was a strong proposal to turn it into a museum for a collection of De Mogan ceramics. But that proposition floundered.
This was followed with a very real proposal to turn the building into a school again, an Arts and Crafts Academy, with an educational sponsor and backing from the Prince of Wales Trusts. But that plan also faltered to.
In a different role in 2010, as Cabinet Member for Finance, I made the decision to disposal of the building and the adjacent property and land, with the expectation that the Institute building would have a new lease of life.
Sometimes in local government you have to realise that you have to ‘let go’ to allow better things to happened. And that is what has happened here. What has been achieved has benefited everyone.
Buy disposing of the property, the sale proceeds of approx. £7 million have allowed
1.The Beaufoy Trust, of which all Lambeth councillors have historically been ‘corporate trustees’, to be financially endowed with £1.2m of funds to use for updated philanthropic purposes, as the Beaufoy family originally intended.
2.From the £600,000 Section 106 contributions, local ward councillors (Stephen Morgan, Lorna Campbell and Mark Harrison) were clear they wanted the local community to share in the benefits.
So to support Lambeth's co-operative work to give citizens greater control over their neighbourhoods, decisions have been made to spend more than £200,000 on such things as computers at Durning Library, Lollard Street Adventure Playground, re-landscaping outside Coverley Point and work into the greening of Tyers Street.
3.Importantly, I recommended to the Cabinet in July 2012 that the balance of funds of £5.6m be ‘ring fenced’ and have now been invested directly in building Lambeth schools, thus benefitting future generations of young people.
4.And now finally, by you acquiring it and conversion into the London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre, the Beaufoy Institute building has a new lease of life.
This wasn't without its difficulties! Some have said that the planning application was the second most controversial one of recent times!
But the positive outcomes of Lambeth Council's decision to grant planning permission to Diamond Way Buddhist Centre to purchase the Beaufoy Institute are now self-evident.
I also know that Diamond Way Centre will work with the local community to ensure there is a community resource for all to share.
Equally, I know my colleague Councillor Lorna Campbell is pleased and has worked to ensure that the Buddhist Centre is part of the ‘Faiths Together in Lambeth’.
This is our borough-wide independent interfaith organisation that fosters constructive relationships among religious communities, and promotes interfaith involvement in civic life in Lambeth. This relationship is really welcome.
So in concluding, all I can say personally is that I wish this centre all the best for the future, and hope it will always be a place of peace, contemplation and learning.
Pictured: Prince's Labour candidates Chris Marsh, Joanne Simpson and David Amos with Leader of the Council Lib Peck outside the Beaufoy Institute
In July, Lambeth Council hope to introduce Community Local Infrastructure Plans (CLIPs), to decide on spending the neighbourhood share of Community Infrastructure Levies paid by developers of new buildings. Kennington is likely to be bundled together with Oval and Vauxhall, who have already had consultations with residents about neighbourhood improvements like greening roads and traffic calming.
So what does Kennington want?
To obtain views, the Kennington Association (KA) is conducting a survey of Kennington opinion. Please follow this link to tell KA your views: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SBVCVL7
You can be anonymous if you like, but it will help KA to see how widespread suggestions are if you give your home postcode as part of the survey.
David Boardman (Chair of Kennington Association Planning Forum)
Kennington Association, 102 Lollard Street, London, SE11 6PX
For the second year running Lambeth Council has been able to offer a primary school place in the borough to every child whose application was on time. Almost 90% received their first or second preference place.
This is despite a massive increase in demand for primary school places in the south of the borough over the past few years. Lambeth's met this increased demand by expanding schools and building new schools.
Maggie Harriott, Education Strategy Manager for Lambeth Council said: "
'This is excellent news for every one of the 3193 children and their families who know where they'll be going to school in September. What's more, it means there are no families in Lambeth without an offer of a school place.'
There's been a small reduction of around 3% in first preference offers compared to last year's admissions but that's against a similar increase in overall applications in line with Lambeth's planned projections for school places. There are a number of outstanding late applications yet to be processed but there is enough capacity in Lambeth schools to ensure all will receive an offer before the start of the next academic year.
Lambeth is one of the leading boroughs for online applications with nearly all applications made online - 81% more than last year.
Lambeth Labour has launched our manifesto for the 2014 council election.
We're proud of our record running Lambeth Council over the past eight years, proud of what we've achieved locally in Kennington and Vauxhall, and are ambitious for what we want to achieve over the next four years.
Our pledges are to:
1. Help you with the rising cost of living by freezing council tax for the sixth year in a row
2. Boost jobs and grow local businesses by offering every young person access to job support, training or an apprenticeship
3. Make Lambeth cleaner and greener by resurfacing 130 miles of roads and pavements and recycling more waste than ever before
4. Create safer neighbourhoods and build the homes we need by campaigning to protect community police and building 1,000 new council homes
5. Give young people the best start in life by offering free breakfasts in all our primary schools
6. Help to keep you healthy by getting more people involved in sporting activities and healthy exercise
The Heritage Lottery Fund has given a grant of £374,000 towards the restoration of the Flower Garden. Lambeth Council are contributing £82,000. The Friends have agreed to donate £2,500 for students from City & Guilds Art School to design and make a sundial to replace the one destroyed by vandals many years ago.
Adding in the notional value of future voluntary effort from the Friends, the total project exceeds £500,000.
Many people have contributed over a long period to achieve this success. Using the earlier grant given to plan the restoration the Friends were able to consult widely last year in the park and with ‘stakeholders’. The views from park users have been reflected in the plans drawn up by the landscape architects and now approved.
A new entrance will be opened from the Green Link, which will be re-landscaped.
Paths will be re-laid and new boundaries will give clear sightlines. The lily-pond will be re-created; the pergolas and many existing features will be sympathetically restored and fresh planting introduced. There will be new garden furniture.
The work is planned to finish by late summer 2015. We will then embark on the Activity Plan drawn up by the Friends to raise awareness of the Flower Garden and widen the range of its users. A gardening instructor will help those who want to take an active part in maintaining the garden, supplementing the work of the contractor.
I want to thank everyone whose work has contributed to this success and Lambeth Council for supporting the Friends’ original initiative. Testimonials in support came from our MP Kate Hoey and a wide range of other individuals and organisations.
As the plans develop, we will publish updates to keep you in the picture.
You are invited to attend a
public exhibition detailing proposals for a forthcoming planning
application to refurbish our existing offices and convert some to
residential accommodation at Westminster Tower on the Albert
Before a planning application
is submitted to Lambeth Council, you have an opportunity to see the
plans and comment on the proposals. The exhibition will include images
and detailed information of the plans. Members
of the project team will be available to answer any questions.
We are proposing to refurbish
the existing Westminster Tower office building, which is now
inappropriate for the modern office environment. Additionally, we
propose a change of use of some of the office space to housing
including shared ownership housing.
The redesign has been carried
out to improve energy performance of the building and the built
environment on the Albert Embankment. We will also be improving the
frontage and façade of the building. The façade will
now be mainly Portland Stone to recognise and reflect the character of
the Southbank area.
Westminster Tower has been
owned since the 1990s by Three Albert Embankment Limited, a wholly owned
subsidiary of local property investor CLS Holdings plc. CLS has its
headquarters located in Vauxhall where it has
been investing for over 20 years.
We hope you will be able to come along to our exhibition – we look forward to hearing your views.
If you are unable to attend and would like more information please contact us via email, letter or Freephone.
Your councillors have asked for more information about why the building is not suitable as a modern office, what its current and recent occupancy has been, and how the loss of employment space can be justified.
Letter from Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust:
I am writing to inform you that some health services currently provided at the Moffat Health Centre, 65 Sancroft Street SE11 5NG will be moving to Lambeth Community Care Centre, Monkton Street SE11 4TX as of Monday 28 April 2014.
We have decided to offer Early Intervention and Prevention Services, Stop Smoking and Foot Health services from the Monkton Street site where consultation rooms are currently under-utilised. Extra Foot Health services will also continue to be run from Mawbey Brough Health Centre.
By moving services to Monkton Street we will be able to make better use of the facilities and to provide a much better experience for our patients and staff.
Staff currently operating from Monkton Street will not be adversely affected in any way by this decision. Neither will there be any adverse impact on the Amputee Rehabilitation Unit as services will be carried out in the consultation rooms on the ground floor.
If you require any other information please get in touch with Angela Dawe, Operations Director, Community Health Services by telephone on 0207 188 7708 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Operations
Community Health Services
Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
160 Tooley Street
London SE1 2TZ
Your councillors have asked for details about the future of the Sancroft Street building