Mobile Library

I took a walk around the Green this morning and the sight of the Magistrates Court reminded me that I was going to write something about the proposal to move the library. As you may or may not know, Southwark Council have an 8,000 sq. ft. prefabricated building in Bermondsey which is now unused, and they’re considering moving it to the plaza in front of the Court and using it to house the library (currently on Church St.), a meeting space, and cafe. You can see the plans in this consultation document [PDF].

The Camberwell Society object to the proposal on the grounds that the building’s just too big; it would occupy most of the currently open plaza, making it very cramped, and involve cutting down some of the orchard (which they say is ‘becoming lovely’, although I’d dispute that) and some and nearby trees. Also, planning permission was granted only last year for children’s play resources and tree re-planting.

They say the move is likely to cost somewhere in the region of £500,000, and the building itself has an estimated life span of only 10 years, so would rather see the money spent on developing the existing library and meeting spaces in the leisure centre. There would also be costs involved in breaking the leases that are held on the current property.

I received an email from someone suspecting ‘ulterior motives’ for the Council’s proposal, and the author has some questions that they feel haven’t been answered, including:

  • Has an application for planning permission been made?
  • What is the total projected cost of the move?
  • Have estimates been made for repairs to the existing building?
  • What will be done with the old building?

Someone on this blog mentioned a Tesco opening in the current library’s position, but I’m not sure if that was any more than a joke or speculation.

I have to say that I’m not against this proposal if it brings benefits, but I agree that the proposal for meeting spaces and cafe could easily be met by funding the leisure centre, in which case moving the library doesn’t seem to make much sense.

The Council are running the public consultation until 21 April; download a copy [PDF] and fill in your responses if you’re interested in making your voice heard.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

241 thoughts on “Mobile Library”

  1. I seem to have posted as a jazz club. Strange thing. Meant to mention that tonight’s quiz (8pm at The Sun and Doves) is a fund raiser for Kings College’s new Adult Cystic Fibrosis Unit.

    Rather unbelievably great prizes come along with it: dinner at Angel & Gypsies, wines from Laithwaites, stuff form the Fresh Flower Company and a lot more, including a widescreeen TV. WOW!

    Teams of up to six people, £3 per person. No registration needed, just turn up and have a great time! Come early to get a good seat!

  2. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor once had a pint of bitter in the Fox on the Hill in 1963. This remarkable story is told for the first time in today’s Daily Mail. Jack Richardson, the couple’s chauffeur, lived in a council house nearby and asked them over for Sunday lunch.

    The library prefab seems a bit of a curate’s egg, a parson’s nose, a vicar’s nostril. The current library is a bit space poor but the prefab, though twice as big, looks like a poor space put in a funny place.

    The librarians should decide.

  3. We swear by the Daily Mail in our house. What will happen to their upright, simple sword of truth if the communist, homosexual judges prevent the Mail from revealing the shame of celebrities?

    A large portion of Crofton Road is to be laid aside for due royalist, loyalist revelry on Friday 26 April.

    That evening, Ed Tudor Pole of Ten Pole Tudor will perform at Jubilee Hall, Chagford, Devon 8pm-1am. Cheap bar, DJs, overall theme: NEVER MIND THE NUPTIALS.

  4. IF you have a child who’s in year 3,4 or five and are concerned that the lottery system might not serve them or you as you deserve to be — come to the Sun and Doves at 6pm on Thursday 5 May to meet the steering group who are behind the Michaela Community School — a mixed school for 11 to 18 years olds which will be opening in September 2012 — and find out more about what this school could do for your children.

  5. Good luck with the school…

    Has anybody seen this one on Shakespeare Road…

    What is the deal these days? Are you only allowed to send kids to schools within the same borough in which you live? Before if you were on around the boundary lines of two boroughs then common sense would prevail…I even knew of kids crossing town to go to school in North London boroughs where the family used to live just because they once had a sibling there, so they qualified — It was 20 odd years ago though.

    Oh yes, I have yet again commited the cardinal sin of the naive idiot who expects good reason & logic to seamlessly bond with the negative side effects of a totally unregulated free market economics taking away responsibility for funding these schools from the government because like everything else it’s far too expensive.

    Still, lets not question it eh? At least we have the Daily Mail to continuously inform us of their righteous indignation at the state of things, blaming everything and everyone on their way to totally failing to make the connection between the two things every single flippin’ time — without fail.

    You have to admire the consistency though.


    ever the fool


    p.s I drink my tea.

  6. back in the gritty world of camberwell.
    attempting to cross the road when the pedestrian light is very green can lead to ‘conflict’: tuesday night, as we got to the corner of wyndham road/camberwell road & went to cross the street (through green light for pedestrians), we were almost run over by a black cab. the only thing he had to say was ‘i never saw you.’ what he was doing running through the red light is another matter. unless he was testing whether we’ve had ‘pedestrian training.’

    on friday (good friday? bad friday?), all of the police who weren’t on easter break swooned down to camberwell rd/wyndham road corner and blucher road, as, i’m told (still to be confirmed), there was a stabbing or a shooting in a barber’s shop; the perpetrators got into a car and police chased them into blucher road. this went on for a couple of hours.

  7. On Friday I saw a parade through Camberwell in the evening. Looked like a Greek orthodox church. Anyone know where it was coming from and going to? Is it every Easter?

  8. Yes, that was the good friday parade from the Greek Orthodox church. Came down from the church, round by the hermits up camberwell grove then round back down denmark hill and back to the church.

    Speaking to Harry and his wife at Cruson this happens every year with Harry having to begrudginly close the shop early…

  9. I’ve been on a bit of a spree around Bellenden Road recently. Tried the new deli, Anderson & Co (, which has bread from Luca’s and Blackbird in E. Dulwich. Not a huge range yet, and seem a little disorganised, but there’s potential there.

    Tried The Montpelier, which is much improved since I last went there. Really nice selection of beers (Freedom Dark Lager, yum) and the menu looks simpler; haven’t eaten there, but had lukewarm feedback from others.

    And last night went to the pizzeria, 168SLA. The pizza itself was quite sloppy but the flavours were really nice. My starter was really amazing, though; burrata ( with parma ham and fresh pesto. Packed full of taste. Really good. Recommended.

  10. That’s not a Greek Orthodox church, its St Mary’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral…

    My last pizza at 168A was swimming with molten cheese and tomato sauce

  11. the service at 168SLA has always been painful whenever ive been, the wait for food and bill when the place is half empty just seemed lay to me, so am apprehensive about going back, although am a fan of the cape cod pizza there! if they could speed things up a bit it would be a much better place to go!

  12. Other than aforementioned Crofton Road celebrations does anyone know of any Royal Wedding street parties happening — particularly on the LB Junction side of Camberwell?

    The cafe in Myatt’s Fields is doing special cakes and whatnot so we (the family that is, this isn’t the Queen posting in disguise as I imagine she’s busy) shall head there if nothing else is going on but I’m a bit surprised at the lack of bunting. I guess everyone is too busy and/or cynical these days.

  13. Head to Crofton Road, 2–6pm if you can’t find anything else. It will be a very merry do. Not just jolly cockneys but people from the Commonwealth will attend, so it will be a big laugh all round, just for a short time in life, eh?

    Bring something.

    The royal wedding is quite a subtle shoe-in for a better future. No longer will we have to live in dread that Beatrix Campbell will be Queen Bea or that Prince Charles will act the boss over us.

    Tomorrow may be cool, a bit rainy, a little miserable. But that’s us.

    We are the British, all of us, wherever we’re from — we stand on the British soil, every single one of us.

    For that reason alone, we are ALL THE CHILDREN OF ALBION!

  14. I saw the aftermath of the Ratstar eviction on Camberwell Road yesterday morning at about 0730. By that stage, the police were standing around outside chatting and joking with eachother, but there were about 40 of them and 10 heavily armoured police vans. The operation must have started in the very early hours.

  15. Ratstar was a productive, creative squat — they had a good gig there a while back, well run, good atmosphere.

    Camberwell Grove Early Years Centre (nursery) are having a fair tomorrow, Saturday, 2–5pm. Plants, books, food, fun. A good place to spend your drunk’s change.

    Millwall v Swansea will be tasty.

  16. On the subject of us all being the children of Albion and of Being British, Dagmar, don’t quite know what’s come over me but I have recently taken to wearing a Harrington jacket, drainpipe jeans and Doc Marten’s Solovair shoes. All bought from Jay’s Stores in Surrey Quays, where I bought the same garments almost thirty years ago when I was a waiter at Joe Allen. The prices have barely changed, which attracts me, and the men are the same who served the public there thirty years ago.

    Donkey jacket and desert boots next.

  17. The information evening about setting up a new school, which is next Thursday at The Sun and Doves, is creating a bit of a fuss around the area.

    Militant teacher union people are blogging and Tweeting about it in unflattering terms and trying to raise a rabble to disrupt the evening. Apparently now, having been a lifelong Labour supporter, I am a ‘Tory self publicist’. Reassuring to know that we’re so definitely doing something right.

  18. Crofton Road street party was excellent — the gentle susurrus of banter, loads of drink, no-one drunk, every kind of people under the sun, all manner of games, Erin presented the prizes for best costume, xtreme laziness, no cars, a marvellous example of community inaction.

  19. @Mark — I’ll preface this by saying that I don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other about your campaign for a free school (otherwise you’ll think I’m the tweeter!), but I suspect that the “Tory Self-Publicist” slur was probably aimed at Katherine Birbalsingh, rather than you.

  20. You’re probably right enough Mushtimushta but the grammar is describing anyone in the steering group and the context is such (clearly now) that, if you, one, I, show any form of support for, or interest in, or even a glimmer of the thought of an interest in, a Free School (even as a parent with no place for their eleven year old in any secondary for 2011) — you are immediately branded a Tory supporter at best or an elitist, divisive and wilful destroyer of the state education system at worst.

    It’s PATHETIC.

  21. @ Mark — Good info on Su Thai, thanks. Long time since I’ve been there and it’d be good to have a change.

    Good luck with the school. And yes, it is pathetic. Sadly that’s the way debate is polarising. Suggest doing things differently and you’re an unfeeling enemy of a mythical successful and fair public service. You’re BAD, you’re evil, end of.

  22. So, in the late 70’s it was decided to get rid of grammar schools in London because it was unfair to cherry-pick the brightest pupils from working class families and give them a better education than everyone else.

    As a consequence of this mostly everyone got a rubbish sub-standard education.

    Nice. (Many Thanks, it was much appreciated!)

    Now we have the situation where Free Schools are basically filling the void that was created and will prove to be to the modern day equivalent of the grammar schools which were closed for being so unfair.

    Oh! The irony of it all…

    Good luck with the school

  23. There is a funny bloke going round Lucas Gardens smelling of seawater. He is muttering a lot and has a long beard. He is just the sort of fellow who will pop up teaching in the local free school, wagging his finger, that sort of chap.

    “You are this, you are that, you are Shia, you are Crap. You are Celtic, you are Rangers, you fucking support Millwall else U R STRANGERS!!!!!!”

  24. Personally I’m pleased that Osama Bin Laden has been mercilessly killed. I have become completely sick of political correctness politeness and mediocrity. I find I cannot have a conversation with my parents where I do not say ‘fuck’ at the annoyance and utter stupidity of it all. Whatever happened to apprenticeships and quality work/craftmanship? Somehow in our society now it seems that bad, dull, ignorant, stupid people succeed and good, clever, hard working people with vision fail. There are exceptions of course. But how can it be that the CEO of RBS gets a £7.5million pay package, with bonuses, when the business he is boss of lost £1.5BILLION? How does that happen? And when questioned about it he just says ‘I’m not at the top of the scale in this sector, although at the top of pay league in society but if they don’t like it they can always employ someone else’. WHAT? This utterly selfless prick is 50. He should be publicly humiliated. And don’t talk to me about footballers’ payscales or Charlie Sheen.

    How is it that some NHS doctors earn over £200K and how is it that ‘tradesmen’ nowadays actually ask to borrow your tools or to sub them cash so they can buy a wrench, expect YOU to sort out their parking problems AND they leave their detritous on the job for the client to take to the dump? How is it that they earn more money than you do? How come traffic wardens routinely treat people as if they are criminals and simply get away with it? I was given a ticket a couple of weeks ago when I was putting money in the pay and display machine: ‘I gave you an ‘Instant Ticket’ there’s nothing I can do about it’. And when I swore at her and told her she cannot do that and that she was mugging me she just said ‘get a life’. Fuck ME.

    And that’s not the half of it.

    If you dear people really, actually, factually, KNEW the situation of what’s happening with pubs all over the UK you would, well, you would simply not believe it because it is so surreal it is not actually believable. it’s JUST like the bankers’ bonuses.

    And if we, as a society, all were able to be frank and honest and open about our rubbish education system, maybe we would begin to get our priorities right. Faith Schools. PAH!

    I hope the language did not dilute the message.



  25. Thanks for the support by the way guys. And, seriously, if you have the time, PLEASE do come along to the information evening on Thursday to show support — we really might need it if there’s a bunch of militant fools parading up and down the street.


  26. Quality rant, Mark. Worthy of the Internet.

    Eusebiovic, weren’t grammar schools divisive as well? If you didn’t make the cut, you were artificially limited at age 11?

  27. Should I have received some kind of polling card for the AV thing? Not that I’m paranoid or anything, but is it just me that hasn’t received one?

    Or has the general apathy spread to polling card despatchers and deliverers.

    Perhaps it’s a Tory central command conspiracy where they expect the inner city to be full of lefties who might threaten their first-past-the-post comfort zone.

    Perhaps I ought to get out more.

  28. @Gabe *bows* thank you, it was carefully worded for the internet. Incidentally, paradoxically, my first grammar school experience was completely ghastly and made me yearn for comprehensives.

    @Jes. Funny that, I was thinking EXACTLY the same thing about polling cardlessness. I not seem to have one.

    @Alan. You are so well organised no wonder you have received it.

  29. I’ve got a polling card. But FYI, you don’t actually need one, as long as you’re on the electoral register; just tell them your name and address.

    If you don’t know whether you’re on the electoral register, go to, find your local registration office, and contact them.

  30. We have had no cards. We, too, should get out more, but we sit by the radio waiting for instructions from the government, dreading the sound of helicopters, pokka-pokka-pokka.

  31. Vote yes. AV is simply a better way of choosing a popular representative than first past the post, and selecting a representative who can best represent the majority of constituents is the essence of representative democracy.

    The campaigns on both sides have contained a lot of hot air and nonsense. It’s a shame that this simple message has largely got lost in the arguments about which party will benefit most or whether the morality of MPs will be transformed in the process.

  32. I’m not promising anything. I’m sure you’re quite capable of understanding how it works and deciding for yourself. I was just giving my conclusions.

    Still, I don’t think the claim that it is a ‘better’ way of selecting a popular representative can be reasonably disputed. That wouldn’t necessarily make such a representative ‘better’ in other ways. For instance, you might think that a ‘better’ representative is one more likely to reflect your own political views, which seems to be the main concern of many commentators.

  33. Changing the topic entirely. Anyone with a leasehold property and 50 minutes to spare might be interested to see this programme:

    One half of the story is about Tristan Rogers, who posted a criticism of his management company on the SE1 Forum and was taken to court with a potentially huge legal bill. The SE1 Forum website was also threatened with legal action.

    Tristan bravely refused to back down and the company in question dropped their action after 9 months and paid Tristan’s legal fees. There’s no reason why I can’t name the company — as they took action through the courts, it is a matter of public record — but to avoid giving Peter a heart attack I won’t.

    However, you can see which company it is by looking at the following post and the note by James Hatts (who runs the forum) on the SE1 forum website.
    The company even pressed James to remove his own note about the legal action, but he refused so that people would know what was happening.

    So can I just finish by saying that I think my own management company, Peverel, are amazing. It’s amazing that they can legally get their insurance from brokers that are part of the same parent company. It’s amazing that they try to justify the fact that the service charge here has nearly doubled in the past four years. Certainly no one should suggest that the fact that Peverel’s parent company has gone bankrupt raises questions about the general competence of their property management division.

  34. If everyone’s second preference counted in subsequent rounds, maybe. But giving only losing voters another bite makes it a no for me.

  35. Taking account of the ordered preferences of all voters is actually very complicated and to be honest will only rarely affect the result when electing a single representative. Voting systems that can do this, such as the Schulze method, are incomprehensible to most people — and that’s not just political rhetoric, have a look at the explanation on Wikipedia. A proportional system, which unfortunately is not on offer, would be far simpler and also achieve a result that reflects the views of the population.

    However, first past the post does none of these things. It’s not proportional and it won’t take into account anyone’s second preferences. Instead it encourages tactical voting. Why make people second guess the election result rather than just express their preferences?

    I won’t go on about this any more. Sadly, it’s too late to make up for the failings of the yes campaign.

  36. I’ll be voting Yes. AV is not a perfect solution but it’s the only one we’re offered, and it’s incrementally better than FPTP.

    To be honest it’s not going to make much of a difference to us as we’re in a safe Labour seat, but to those in more varied seats it will mitigate the effects of being represented by a candidate who only 25% of the public voted for.

    There’s been a lot of FUD from both sides around the issue, but the worst is that it’s somehow complicated; as if listing the candidates in numerical order is beyond the capabilities of our simple minds!

    Some good independent fact checking:

    And refuting some of the lies:

    I urge everyone to read them.

  37. why give a 2nd preference if you strongly believe in someone you vote for them alone, by AV you have to list 2nd,3,4,5th prefernce — lets face it you dont give a shit about 2–5 and they could end up winning! Sorry but VOTE NO TO AV
    if AV worked, a lot more countries would be using it.

  38. Er, no, under AV you don’t have to list other preferences if you don’t want to. If you dislike all other candidates equally, then just mark your favourite candidate.

    But in reality, it must be rare that you would find all the other candidates equally distasteful, and if you did think some of those other candidates are better than others, why not express that preference. After all, if one of candidates 2–5 has to win, why not help influence which it is going to be and help select a candidate who has wider popular appeal among the electorate?

    We get a second preference in the London Mayoral election and that system seems to have worked. Is it really a step too far to indicate 3rd and 4th preferences and so on?

  39. I will be voting AV

    …but deep down something tells me that it won’t make much difference unless we seriously start to question the wisdom of being anxious & paranoid about growth in an economy that reached maturity many,many years ago and is still relying on endless consumerism/consumption just to remain treading water or a mere percentage point above or below the surface!

    Unless we start coming up with an alternative sustainable,responsible economic plan for the future…

    Everything else is just pissing into the wind!

    I drink my tea

  40. It’s a bit like the play-offs. Last past the post. Just off the post. Gone to penalties. Drawn out of a hat. “No.29.” [Accrington Stanley.] “Will play… No.13.” [Bradford Park Avenue.] And the games will be played on the twelfth of never — and that’s a long long time.

  41. on a totally utterly unrelated note, here’s a suggestion for se5 forum perhaps? (i’d completely forgotten my username & stuff for the forum, sorry)
    on pretty much all other the ‘area’ web forums (se1, east dulwich, nunhead) there are very lively threads called ‘nunhead/east dulwich/etc councillors, how can we help?’ admittedly, the councillors who seem to be communicating with the residents are few (3–4 regulars) but it might be a good ‘prompt’ for our sleepy hollow?

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