Home » ART » Currently Reading:

Lambeth council lambasted for arts centre sale

February 14, 2012 ART No Comments

20120214 143550 Lambeth council lambasted for arts centre sale

poweredbyguardianBLACK Lambeth council lambasted for arts centre saleThis article titled “Lambeth council lambasted for arts centre sale” was written by Peter Walker, for theguardian.com on Monday 13th February 2012 18.00 UTC

A Labour-run local authority rebranded amid much fanfare as the “John Lewis council”, with community input at its heart, has been accused of betraying its principles after selling a long-established arts centre to private housing developers.

The decision by Lambeth in south London has caused particular anger because it came shortly after the artists and charities who use the centre spent £70,000 on renovation work, in exchange for a promised long-term lease.

The row highlights the pressures faced by Labour-run councils against the backdrop of heavy funding cuts. Late last year another Labour borough in London, Brent, faced similar criticism for opting to close half its libraries.

The arts centre, Stockwell Studios, was built in 1915 as a maternity hospital run by Annie McCall, a pioneer of women’s health.

The hospital closed in 1981 and the then-crumbling building was occupied by artists five years later. In lieu of paying rent to Lambeth, which owned the site, they agreed a system of levies to maintain the building, establish a community garden and run free art projects.

During 2010, as Lambeth was relaunching itself as part of wider Labour efforts to reconnect the party with communities, officials agreed to grant the artists a formal, five-year lease if they rewired and fireproofed the centre. It was after this work was complete that the council announced it would instead sell the site.

A deal was signed last month with a developer, Henley Homes, which says it hopes to find space on the site for some artists but is likely to build over the garden.

Sue Blandford, a painter who has worked at Stockwell Studios for 14 years, said she felt betrayed: “It was utterly devastating. Despite past experience with Lambeth we thought that on something that involved us in so much time and expense we could trust them.

“This is the shocking thing about Lambeth’s attitude. They pay all this lip service to community groups but when it came down to it they decided to take the money from a developer.”

Also facing possible eviction is Art4Space, a charity that uses a former maternity ward on the ground floor to run courses and summer schools for children and low-income groups.

“We’re very Lambeth-focused and we do a lot of good work in Lambeth,” said Eli Seath from Art4Space. “At the very least, Lambeth’s communication has been really bad, given that they asked us to do all these works and spend this money, time and effort and then suddenly they say, ‘We’re selling it now.’ “

Lambeth said the lease offer fell through in part because the artists refused a clause agreeing to the site’s eventual sale.

“Being a co-operative council is about giving local people more control over the services they use and involving them much more in decisions that affect them,” said Paul McGlone, the cabinet member for finance and resources.

“However, it’s not a magic wand that makes the impact of government funding cuts vanish and so there will be occasions where the interests of the borough’s residents as a whole have to take precedence over the specific demands of a particular group of individuals.”

The paradox for the artists is that without their 25-year effort in caring for the building, Lambeth would most likely not have the asset to sell. This has led to a fresh twist – in October last year the former hospital was granted Grade II listing, in part due to its history at the vanguard of women’s health.

This makes it a potentially less lucrative prospect for redevelopment.

“It’s possible that Henley Homes will also decide that it’s just not viable,” said Blandford.

“That’s the hope at the moment. It’s not just a selfish hope, it’s wider, thinking about the community return for everybody involved.”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

FAD NEWS

Daniel’s Value and Ideas #41: A Polke in the Eye

October 31, 2014

Daniel’s Value and Ideas #41: A Polke in the Eye

The career of Sigmar Polke is the restless search for the optimum means of expressing the truth of the static past in the fluid present.

Winners of Young Masters Art Prize 2014 Announced

October 30, 2014

Winners of Young Masters Art Prize 2014 Announced

Juergen Wolf and Matt Smith announced as winners of the Young Masters Art Prize and Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize 2014

Flying car approaches liftoff as most advanced prototype yet is unveiled

October 30, 2014

Flying car approaches liftoff as most advanced prototype yet is unveiled

Its almost here ! At last the Flying Car !!

ART NEWS: ‘Stolen to order’ theft from a young and vibrant contemporary art gallery in the heart of London.

October 30, 2014

ART NEWS: ‘Stolen to order’ theft from a young and vibrant contemporary art gallery in the heart of London.

On the evening of Saturday (25th October) FOLD Gallery London, a young commercial gallery in Clerkenwell, was the victim of what appears to be a ‘steal to order’ theft of four sculptures by popular young artist Tim Ellis.

INTERVIEW: Peter Peri : I holed up in a garage in Roehampton for five years, painting on my own.

October 29, 2014

INTERVIEW: Peter Peri :  I holed up in a garage in Roehampton for five years, painting on my own.

So I’m heading to Hackney to see the English artist Peter Peri for a studio visit / interview.
He’s about to have his first solo show in Asia with one of the region’s biggest galleries, Pearl Lam.

Louise Hearman wins 2014 Moran prize, Australia’s richest portrait award

October 29, 2014

Louise Hearman wins 2014 Moran prize, Australia’s richest portrait award

Painter’s portrait of photographer Bill Henson takes $150,000 Moran prize, which attracted more entries than the Archibald

Paul’s ART STUFF on a train # 79: ‘Battle of the Behemoths’

October 29, 2014

Paul’s ART STUFF on a train # 79: ‘Battle of the Behemoths’

London currently features something of a battle of the German behemoths.

FAD DAILY

FAD DAILY

Want brilliant, exciting and interesting art and culture news in your inbox every day? Course you do. Sign up to our newsletter below.

ADVERTISING