West Norwood Library and Cinema Project Update

Thank you for your patience. As you will be aware the Council has been involved in detailed legal discussions with Picturehouse Ltd over the past few months concerning the development of the Nettlefold Centre. Firstly, I would like to provide you with the progress made against the development framework, which was agreed by the Council:
Cabinet Agreed Framework
The size of the public library space will be equivalent, or more, than the existing service footprint.
Our current assessment is the building will offer space that is equivalent to old public book leading library. This will be subject to the final design, how the library and cinema interact and use of common areas.
Action: The Head of Libraries to codesign final layout/design of library with the Friends of West Norwood Library.
Rental income from the commercial partner will be recycled into the library services programme.
Agreed as part of the agreement to lease between Picturehouse Ltd and the Council.
The freehold of the land and building will remain in Council ownership.
Agreed as part of the agreement to lease between Picturehouse Ltd and the Council.
Explore and examine the integrated use of community space within the West Norwood area.
Audit undertaken and findings reported back to the Norwood Forum and Project Steering Group.
A commercially viable cinema and café.
Agreed as part of the agreement to lease between Picturehouse Ltd and the Council.
Design will allow flexibility when resources become available for a Cemetery Visitor Centre.
Action: Please see further detail below and set out in the attached.
An integrated approach across the lending library, cinema, café, community space and visitor centre.
To be agreed.
Action: Protocols to be worked with stakeholders who will be operational on site when open.
To be mindful of the Conservation area and the surrounding Grade 2 and Grade 2 listed structures
Subject to formal planning procedures, although all efforts have been taken to ensure the development of the library/cinema respect the integrity of the existing structure.
The Building
Cleansing as now been completed and all exposed asbestos has been removed. As is normal building works practice any encapsulated asbestos that may remain in the building will be removed during enabling works. The building is safe and we are trying to make arrangements for the next steering group meeting to be held in the building. 24/7 security is in place via live in guardians.
The Library
The business model that has been worked up is to ensure that once open West Norwood will offer a service profile akin to Brixton, Clapham and Streatham. As stated previously the final service design and its physical space remains to be codesigned by our colleagues in the library service and Friends of West Norwood Library.
The Cinema
Picturehouse Ltd have had unrestricted access to the building since Christmas to complete their survey work, which will lead to a set of detailed refurbishment costs for the project being produced over the coming weeks. Once these are finalised and agreed we then move into the planning application process.
The Visitor Centre
Scope for the proposed visitor centre remains a part of the overall curtilage of Nettlefold site. Attached is a site plan, which emerged from the steering group and has informed the negotiations between Picturehouse Ltd and the Council. This clearly sets out the demarcated area for the visitor centre. How the proposed visitor centre interacts with the existing Nettlefold building will be a matter of final design that will need to meet planning consent, a business and audience development plan, as well as funding being secured (capital/revenue).
The proposed visitor centre also needs to be considered and rooted into an overall management plan for the Cemetery. The Cemetery is an important asset to the borough, which has potential to play a pivotal role as cultural, tourist, business and economic driver in West Norwood. To this end we plan to open up dialogue with the Chair of the West Norwood Cemetery Scheme of Management and Chair of the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery to scope out how we can work together to take the proposed visitor centre forward.
To support this work we re proposing to make available up to £20,000 for the commissioning of a technical assessments to identify the best approach to delivering a sustainable visitor centre within the overall plan for the Cemetery.
The Cultural Hub
If you recall members of the steering group produced a paper on a proposal for a West Norwood Cultural Hub. At the next Steering Group meeting I would like to encourage some further dialogue about how we can take this thinking on to its next stage given the wider context of and culture assets in West Norwood:
–          The Cemetery
–          The Nettlefold
–          The Norwood Health and Leisure Centre
–          South London Theatre
–          Portico Gallery
–          The Feast
–          St. Luke’s Church
–          The Old Library Site, etc.
I am sure I will have missed something off this impressive list, but I am also sure you get the picture and the potential for something quite amazing if we pull together.
John Kerridge
Assistant Director: Communities