1 Slagrove Place, which until recently housed Ladywell Training Centre (an in-house training centre for council staff) is being auction off by Lewisham Council on 17th February, with a guide price of £450,000.
Originally it was the porter's lodge and stables of the St. Olave's/Bermondsey Union's Workhouse, a vast Victorian workhouse which used to cover the whole area now occupied by Pepermead Square, Dressington Avenue and Slagrove Place. The (listed) water tower on Dressington Avenue and Ladywell Lodge (near Ladywell Day Centre) are the other parts which are left, together with the gate posts to Slagrove Place.
As part of Lewisham Council's 'Worksmart' programme, the Council undertook a review of its buildings portfolio (well, worked with consultants paid £150,000 to do so), to look at ways of reducing overheads*. A couple of years ago Ladywell Training Centre, along with a number of other buildings, were deemed surplus to requirements and ear-marked for sale.
There's no doubt that the Council could do with an extra half a million quid, given it needs to save around £87m over the next 3 years due to cuts in government grants. If the proceeds of the sale of this building were invested in repairing Crofton Park Library to bring the upstairs into use and help to protect its future viability, or in carrying out some basic repairs to Ladywell Playtower, it might be easier to see the benefit to the local community. I don't believe that's the plan though.
As far as I'm aware, 1 Slagrove Place does not have any kind of protected or listed status and I'm not sure whether or not it would merit listed status, in English Heritage's eyes, considering that the much grander Ladywell Lodge building is not listed (maybe it should be?). It might be worth a try though, as if the site is sold to developers, they could simply knock down the Victorian building and squeeze in as many flats as they can get away with.
Also, given that next week's Ladywell Assembly is being held in Lewisham Central ward (Courthill Road) due to the lack of available meeting rooms in Ladywell, I do wonder whether the building could be put to productive community use.
I'd be interested to hear readers' views on what they think should happen to 1 Slagrove Place - whether it should be sold off, or retained by the Council.
With thanks to Geoffrey from Ladywell Society for details of the auction.
*cut back on consultants' fees for starters, perhaps?!