Thursday, February 03, 2011

1 Slagrove Place (Ladywell Training Centre) due to be auctioned off

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?!


Unknown said...

I say sell it!

If the highly paid consultants agree that this building is surplus to requirements, then I'm inclined to agree.

It seems to me that it could be cheaper to hire meeting rooms, than maintain and run this extra building. The heating bills for a big old building like this are likely to outway those meeting room rentals already.

If selling this building for half a million saves a library or more importantly a few jobs, then all the better.

As for consultancy bills??? Erm... Maybe I'm in the wrong business.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with you over its viability as a Council in-house training centre, given the number of other buildings the Council could hold these in, but I do wonder whether we couldn't make good use of this building in the local community - something which has never been on offer, as far as I'm aware. I'm not keen to see these buildings demolished and a rather bog-standard block of flats put there instead.

pat200 said...

Why do you presume that whoever buys it will want to knock it down? The problem if it gets listed is that the additonal costs involved with conversion to whatever use may put anyone off buying it....and the council get stuck with a white elephant.

Anonymous said...

Hi Matthew - I haven't assumed it will be knocked down, but it is clearly a possibility. Just looking along Ladywell Road, on the one hand we have a sensitive conversion of the old police station, preserving the original building, then a bit further up the Adhesives building was recently knocked down because the owner did the maths and reckoned he could get more money cramming new flats on there than converting the old building.

I think the likelihood of anyone even submitting a proposal for listing to English Heritage before the auction next week, let alone it being accepted, are slim. Personally I would think the buildings' case for listing was at best borderline, but I'm not an expert and often surprised at what they do/don't list.

Helen said...

This is yet another community resource and historic building that is going. This is all part of Lewisham's cuts effectively or what the FT likes to call 'fiscal consolidation'. All the cuts are unncessary - just collect the £120billion in unavoided, evaded or uncollected tax.

Unknown said...

re ALL the cuts: the very simple fact is that 99% of the money we use in the world today was fraudulently created out of nothing by the banks, and is nothing more substantial than millivolts of electricity in a computer somewhere. This means that there is NO REAL ECONOMIC REASON for anything! eg: there is no real economic reason why we cannot feed, clothe, house, educate and employ every person alive on the Earth today, AND be 100% environmentally sustainable too ! Oh, and by the way, there is no real economic reason why Lewisham council has to sell this beautiful old building, or why they cannot renovate (and insulate!) it for community use . . .