Council offers leases on axed library buildings


Four library buildings are up for lease in Lewisham after the council made a decision to close five libraries in the borough last week.

The lease of each building is open to any interested party but the Lewisham Council said: “Anyone submitting a proposal for a lease will need to grant appropriate rights to the Council so that part of the premises can by used to provide community library services.”

James Holland, founder of the Save New Cross Library campaign, said: “A community-run New Cross Library sounds interesting in principle, but it must genuinely be run by the community not taken over by an existing organisation and, most importantly, council funding must continue.”

The announcement of available leases comes after fierce opposition to the closure of libraries by members of the public. Earlier this year an overnight sit-in was held at New Cross Library by campaigners.

Lauren Smith, spokesperson for Voice for the Library said: “Libraries are too important and valuable to risk threats to their sustainability, accessibility and standard. Councillors fail to understand the social value of public library services so see them as a soft target.”

The closure of five libraries in the borough were finalised last week as part of Lewisham Council’s commitment to cut up to £88m over the next three years.

The properties available for lease are New Cross Library, Crofton Park Library, Sydenham Library and Grove Park Library. A fifth library building – Blackheath – is not owned by the Council and is therefore not available for lease.

More on Library Closures:

Privatisation will save libraries but at what cost

Local groups urged to run libraries

Croydon libraries: who goes, you decide

By Nikki Allan

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