Applications for Planning Permission and Listed Building consent have been made to change the use of Carnegie Library and carry out extensive works to the building and on the Reading and Wildlife Garden. If these were to go ahead they would effectively exclude any library or other community use of the building or garden and it would be only a fee-paying gym.
The Friends are therefore asking all supporters of the library to email the Council objecting to the applications by the closing date for objections, which is Monday 12th December. Below is a list of important points that it would be helpful for you to include. If you do not have time to write something yourself then please just copy and paste the list into your email. This is an exercise where the number of objectors is at least as important as what the objectors write. Every member of your household should therefore email separately if at all possible. If you can persuade others to email as well that would be even more helpful.
Your email should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and must to be considered include:
1. Carnegie Library SE24 0AG
2. Applications numbered 16/06270/FUL and 16/06271/LB
3. Your name
4. The address where you live
Important points to make are:
• The Traffic Assessment included in the applications indicates that a substantial proportion of the customers for the gym will come from outside the area and the proposed opening times mentioned in the applications are 6am to 10pm weekdays and 7.30am to 10pm at weekends, with the possibility of even longer hours. All of this is completely inappropriate to the wholly residential area in which the library is situated. Residents should not have to suffer the disturbance of loud voices in the streets and car doors slamming. The Assessment says many of the gym users will travel to and from it by train or bus but this is not credible and there would be increased pressure on the limited amount of parking space in the roads round the gym.
• The proposed excavation of the basement is not deep enough to accommodate gym uses in which the participants jump or raise up their arms. It is proposed to hold exercise classes, including "higher energised" ones, on the ground floor but a group of people jumping up and down in any one of those rooms would generate vibration and noise which would preclude the use of the other rooms.
• Lambeth's Planning policies require construction on back gardens to leave at least 70% unbuilt on and all construction to be a positive response to what is there already. The proposed construction would take up more than half the Reading and Wildlife Garden, leaving only a strip separated from the building, and destroy mature trees. The garden is a public one and the setting of the Listed library building. It should be left alone. If construction is necessary it should be in keeping with the building and take place on the van park.
• The information provided so far has been grossly inadequate. The applications have been given only minimal publicity. They are available only on the Council's website and then only intermittently. The application documents repeatedly assert that implementing the proposals would "aid and support" the building but no details are provided. There is no indication of where the exercise classes would take place. We are told that this would be in community spaces but all the accommodation has this label and nowhere is set aside for library or other community uses. There is nothing about measures to contain vibration or noise, about air conditioning on any floor of the building or about smell inside or outside the building.
The effect of the works on the stability of the building, asset transfers leases and property rights are not Planning considerations and therefore have to be ignored in the Planning process. We therefore suggest that you do not mention them.
The Friends have sent Lambeth a letter setting out very detailed objections to the proposals and giving chapter and verse for Lambeth Planning policies which the proposals contravene. Copies of the letter and its appendices are here. However, the Friends appreciate that few readers will have the time, patience and dedication to go through all this or the applications on Lambeth's website. We are therefore providing what we think are the two most important documents, namely, an extract from the Transport Assessment and the proposed layout of the basement and garden areas.