St James St Library Campaign

Dont’ let the council sell the building! Urgent action needed!
December 9, 2010, 4:15 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

URGENT – please lobby your councillor to rent St James Street Library instead of selling it!  And please forward this to your networks and anyone else who may support us.

The owners of Community Place in Leyton have put in a bid to rent the former St James Street Library for five years, sub-letting to community and charitable groups.

Waltham Forest council has long refused to reopen the public library. But we’ve persuaded them to consider renting the building out instead of selling it to a developer. The Community Place tenancy would keep the building in public hands and give us our best chance of creating a community space there

Please ask your councillor to support the proposal from Community Place, and let your MP know your concern too.

There’s not much time before the council plans to auction the building, so please write them an email or letter (details below) and show them that we still care about St James Street.  We’ve suggested some wording, but feel free to use your own.

Thank you,

St James Street Library Campaign



Dear Councillor

I have heard with interest that the St James Street Library building has received a bid to be rented on a long-term lease to Community Place, who propose to sublet it to charitable and community groups, with office space and space for the arts.  This gives the community in the western end of the High Street a chance to have the community space that it so desperately needs, and provides a much needed boost to the regeneration of the area.

I urge you to support this bid, instead of letting the building go to auction.   A private developer may turn it into flats (causing further overcrowding without infrastructure) or leave it derelict until the property market strengthens, blighting the community.

The Community Place proposal could be a win-win for the Council and the people of the St James Street and Coppermill Area.

Please inform me of how you intend to vote on the proposal.  I look forward to your response.



Look up your local Councillor and contact details here:


Find your MP here:



You can write to all councillors at:

Waltham Forest Town Hall, Forest Road, Walthamstow, London E17 4JF.



If you email them, please copy in the following people:


Cllr. Chris Robbins, Leader of the Council,


Cllr Afzal Akram, Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources (including property)


Cllr Geraldine Reardon, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Arts and Culture,


Martin Esom Chief Executive,


Mimi Konigsberg, Executive Director, Adults and Community Services,


Clive Morton, Head of Cultural Services,


Lorna Lee, Head of Libraries, Museum, Gallery and Archives,


Shifa Mustafa, Acting Director of Environment and Regeneration.


Moira Bishop, Assistant Director Property,



If you do not hear back from the Council or have an unsatisfactory response, please fill in a complaints form, available from any council office or via the Council website,


Spread the word!

Please forward this email to anyone who may support our cause, tell the people you know — spread the word to friends and neighbours.


More information:

St James Street Library in Coppermill Lane building has been empty since it was closed without warning in April 2007.  Local residents have been campaigning since then to have the building returned to community use, though the council wanted to sell it — probably to a property developer.

The council announced earlier this year that it intended to auction the building before April 2011. But the council also started talking to campaigners for the first time. At a meeting with St James Street Library Campaign in October, Cllr

Afzal Akram agreed to consider renting out the building if a potential tenant came forward before Christmas to take it on a five-year lease, which is what the owners of Community Place are proposing to do.

St James Street Library Campaign welcome what has been made public about the proposal so far, while waiting to hear further details.

“This proposal meets the requirements Cllr Akram made at our meeting,” say campaigners. “We wanted the building to reopen as a library and the council wanted to sell it, so this could be the best possible compromise. We look forward to hearing that the council will honour Cllr Akram’s offer.”



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