Your New Town Hall – Why do I need to get involved?
Written by Cllr Paul McGlone
December 3, 2014
Categories: Your New Town Hall
More than 120 people have come to the residents’ meetings and open days held this month to look at the latest proposals for Your New Town Hall.
For anyone who didn’t make it, please look at the plans online at www.yournewtownhall.org or visit the exhibition in the Town Hall foyer and let us know what you think by Friday 17 January because we’re at an important stage.
In February next year we expect our developer partners, Muse, to submit a planning application that could see work start later the same year, but before this happens we want you to help make sure we’re getting the best deal for Lambeth residents.
How did we get here?
Some of you may feel the project has been around a long time –and you’ve seen a number of different proposals – whilst for others, it may be completely new.
I want to thank everyone who has come to events and shared their views so far. From the Made in Lambeth event two years’ ago to the community design activities this summer, we’ve learned from what you’ve said.
Here are just some of the ideas we’ve taken forward:
- Testing an enterprise space through the Impact Hub in the basement of the town hall
- Making the most of the outside space available through high quality landscaping
- Greener buildings that are good for the environment and good for reducing the running costs
More recently we’ve been looking at the height and shape of the new residential building on the Hambrook House site to balance the need for new homes with respecting neighbouring properties. At 14 storeys the current proposed building is more slender and taller than the original proposal but shorter than the 20-storey proposal you may have seen in July.
How does it benefit me?
Saving taxpayers’ money
The Your New Town Hall project is crucially about saving the taxpayer £4.5 million per year in the running costs of our civic buildings.
We can do this by reducing the number of core buildings the council runs from 14 to just two. Moreover, these two buildings – the refurbished town hall and the new civic building – will be more energy efficient and cost effective.
We now have a track record in replacing old buildings that are expensive to maintain, like the Streatham and Clapham leisure centres, with more efficient modern buildings. We also know to consider carefully the pros and cons of refurbishing existing buildings compared with replacing them with new ones. You can see some of the work that’s gone into this as part of the Olive Morris House report here.
Around 200 new homes will be built across the YNTH sites, with 40% of these to be ‘affordable’ homes.
Whilst we know homes are needed at council rent levels, we also need homes that can be sold on the open market that can help pay for the affordable housing and the rest of the development.
Increasing the numbers of new homes also helps keep the cost of private sector housing lower for those not eligible for or able to find ‘affordable’ housing.
Jobs and training
With around 730 jobs over the four years of construction, we’ll be looking at 45 apprenticeships and at least 20% of all other positions to go to Lambeth residents. Local supply chains will also benefit from at least £29million.
We estimate around 300 new jobs will come into the borough once the buildings are complete.
Space for new enterprise and community use
The Made in Lambeth event in December 2012 envisaged a place where enterprise meets the community and saw the project as “Supporting positive start-up ventures and SMEs; helping to tackle local issues in innovative ways and grow local business”.
People suggested we started testing an enterprise space immediately, which led to the launch of the Impact Hub in May this year. Building on its success, the new Enterprise Zone will be open for community and business use.
Making the council more accessible for residents
We’ll be bringing all the council services together in a central location. The town hall and the new civic building will be designed to be more welcoming and make it easier for people to find out where they need to go and how to get there.
Better outside public space
People have said they want to make the most of the outside space available in the 2.5 hectare development site around the town hall. By using good lighting and seating, as well as planting that is attractive to wildlife, we want to create somewhere pleasant to spend time in.
What does it cost me?
The YNTH project has been designed to be self-financing. This means it can be built using the value of the land and buildings that make up the project. Yes, this does mean using some of the council’s existing assets.