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Waterloo Library will close within six months under Lambeth plans

Waterloo Library in Lower Marsh is to close its doors in the next six months under plans due to be rubber-stamped by Lambeth's cabinet later this month.

Waterloo Library will close within six months under Lambeth plans

In January this year Lambeth Council revealed a plan to close Waterloo Library and sell its prime Lower Marsh site to developers.

The proposal was part of the borough's 'Culture 2020' consultation on the future of local libraries and parks.

Following a consultation period the council has now revealed the outline of its final proposals which are to be adopted at a cabinet meeting on Monday 12 October.

The council says that Waterloo Library will close by April 2016, but it intends to work with the Oasis charity to set up a "neighbourhood library service" as part of the Oasis Centre on Kennington Road from May next year.

In the longer term a new library could be developed as part of new buildings at Oasis Academy Johanna.

54 per cent of respondents to the consultation opposed the closure of Waterloo Library.

According to the report prepared for the borough's cabinet, the Lower Marsh site has "drawn interest from a variety of organisations" and the council will explore how it can provide both a capital receipt and a revenue stream.

"There's no escaping the hard choices we have to make given the massive cuts to our budgets," said Cllr Jane Edbrooke, cabinet member for neighbourhoods.

"Not everyone will welcome these proposals and there will be some job losses and changes to services.

"But by using much loved community buildings more imaginatively, Carnegie, Minet and Tate South Lambeth have a more secure future.

"It means overall, much longer opening hours and a wider range of facilities and activities, including books and study space."

Oasis – the Christian charity founded by Baptist minister Steve Chalke – already runs Waterloo's primary and secondary schools as well as a city farm and other local initiatives.

Bishop's ward councillor Kevin Craig has welcomed the retention of a library in Waterloo but warned that the council still has "big questions" to answer.

"The new temporary library at Oasis will mean longer opening hours, 13 computers, and significant space for study and reading," said Cllr Craig.

"In addition to library space, the ground floor of the building will have a cafe and community hall and the first floor will have computer space and a gym.

"We campaigned for continuity of library provision and have successfully ensured that this new temporary library will be open in May 2016.

"But more details over the Oasis plans are urgently needed from Lambeth Council and we will be pushing for answers.

"We will also be seeking to meet crucial local groups in the coming weeks. This discussion is not yet over in our view."

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