East Greenwich Library - an Asset of Community Value

library

The Greenwich Society  has managed to persuade the council to list the East Greenwich Library as an asset of Community Value*. The good news reached us fairly promptly after the submission of the nomination form but too late, it would appear, to prevent the 'For Sale' signs now adorning the building.

Molly Bartlett, who as part of the Friends campaign to save the library and get it listed (Grade II) some time ago, had spoken to the Society's Executive Committee in July about the poor state of repair of the building - a gift to the people of Greenwich from Andrew Carnnegie - and the loss to the community which would occur if it were sold. Glenda Alexander, Eve Daniels and Kelly Salambasis - all of whom work in More2childcare locally - had also asked for the Society's help in keeping the building in community use and perhaps even giving them some premises from which they could work in future.

Everyone agreed that the library was a treasured local resource that should be saved for the community if at all possible and so, the campaign to save the building and keep it for the local community - not to see it it torn down to make way for more high-end apartments, was born.

East Greenwich Library is now listed on the Council's List of Assets of Community Value.

* The Localism Act gives community groups a right to bid on land or buildings included in an 'assets of community value' list before the landowner can sell it in the open market. Under the Act, voluntary and community organisations can nominate land or buildings (an asset) to be included on the list. This list is managed by the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Assets of community value can include private as well as publicly owned assets.

However - the ACV status means effectively is that the Council may not dispose of the building until 1st October 2015. This is known as the ‘interim moratorium’. During this period, a community interest group may request to be treated as a bidder, subject to the provisions in the legislation. If a request to be treated as a bidder is received by the Council before the 1st October, a further six month ‘full moratorium’ period will be imposed. During this time, the Council may not dispose of the building.

 

The legislation does not give first refusal to a community group to buy the building, or indeed prevent the Council from marketing and negotiating for the sale of the property within the moratorium period. It just prevents the sale. In practice, the moratorium period allows for community groups to have time to put together a proposal to buy the asset.

 

The hard work starts now!