We handed in a petition with over 400 signatures at the council meeting in July. The petition demanded the youth and leisure facilities on Maskall Close are open to all. The council have now given us this response.
I am writing in response to the petition presented to Cllr Mary Atkins, which was received at Full Council on 22nd July 2015. I welcome the community interest in the development of a community facility for young people.
I can confirm that as part of the City Heights Development between the Department of Education Funding Agency, E-ACT (academy sponsor) and Lambeth Council the agreement was that:
- There would be a new full-sized sports pitch and changing rooms provided for the secondary school that local people would be able to take advantage of, subject to the school’s legal duties, policies and local management.
- That a facility would be provided for local young people and that when its governance arrangement were finalised, they would have a say in running the facility. Although under two separate ownerships, the youth facility is an integral part of the sports pitch and changing rooms. The legal arrangement for the governance of the building recognises that they should be seen as are part of one community facility.
- As is normal for such arrangements, Lambeth will retain the freehold of the whole site. There would be a lease to E-ACT for the ground floor and a separate lease for the top floor (housing the youth facility).
- The first lease would be between Lambeth and EACT. The second between Lambeth and a not-for-profit Community Interest Company that would be set up by officers.
I acknowledge that there have been delays in getting wider community access; although City Heights has been actively using the sports pitch and changing rooms in term time and upstairs community facility has more recently been used by Fenstanton Primary School on a trial basis for their after school club. There was a delay early this year caused by water damage to some of the building and the time taken to set up a separate legal entity to run the community interest for the youth facility. It has always been the intention that the council would not run the facility, therefore a Community Interest Company (4NS CIC) has now been formed, with the appointment of an Interim Chief Executive Derek Joseph. They run the youth facility, whilst the sports pitch and changing rooms remain the responsibility of City heights. Derek and 4NS CIC are already working with local people on a programme of activities to bring the facility into further use – and to repeat, the sports facility has been used by local young people over the last year.
A community meeting was held on Thursday 30th July [fuller minutes here] to discuss youth activities at this centre, which was a positive meeting. It was agreed at this meeting that:
- Derek Joseph will work with the local schools and local voluntary organisations (Hightrees) to facilitate the use of the sports pitches over this summer holiday.
- That 4NS CIC through Derek would continue to work with local organisations, including the 3 Housing Associations who own and manage St Martins Estate and young people in the development of the longer term sustainability of the facility. However, acknowledging that whilst there had been some use of the facility recently we would also focus on some short term solutions.
- That an event for young people would be held at facility in September to honour the original promise to deliver this new community resource.
- We would hold a follow up meeting in September to review progress.
The council is committed to ensuring that young people are involved in the development of priorities and services in the borough. The setting up of this facility and independent Community Interest Company provides an opportunity for young people and the local community being involved in the sustainability of services.
We’re be discussing this response at our general meeting on Wednesday 26th August. It would be good to see people there