Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Birthday Peckham Library - can we keep one in New Cross too?

Peckham Library recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, with kids from local schools producing some birthday messages that were displayed outside.

All of this reminded me that it must be getting on for ten years since we were first promised a new library in New Cross through the New Deal for Communities. The earmarked site in Briant Street is still a wasteland; the NXG Trust (which has superseded NDC) reports that : 'Despite getting planning permission for our development and putting three parcels of land together the project has been setback by the general recession and slump in the property market. All is not lost. We have a new developer, Building Better Health who have a great track record in building great new facilities for communities across London. They built the recently completed Waldron Health Centre in New Cross. They are convinced they can make minor adaptations to the existing design to make it feasible and we hope to sign a development agreement with them in the next few months.After that it will still take some years before we can have a completed new healthy living centre and all the new community facilities this area deserves'.

Building Better Health incidentally is owned by Meridiam, a property company in turn sponsored by AECOM (global engineering firm with US origins) and French financial institutions. So like other public services, whether we ever see a new library in New Cross looks likely to depend on the roulette wheels of the global market.

In fact as things stand, we may not even have the existing small library in New Cross Road - it is apparently one of a number of smaller libraries across Lewisham earmarked for possible closure as a result of Government cuts in funding to local authorities. Blackheath Bugle has the full story and links to a Lewisham Council report suggesting consulting on closing Sydenham, Blackheath, Crofton Park, Grove Park and New Cross libraries.

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