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Agenda item

Ladywell Playtower: selecting a restoration partner

Decision:

Having considered open and confidential officer reports and presentations by

the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Alan Smith, and representatives of the Just

Jones Theatre, Ladywell Traders Association, the Ladywell Society,

Lewisham Building Preservation Trust, BECTU, and Councillor Liz Johnston-

Franklin on behalf of the Ladywell Ward Councillors, the Mayor agreed that:

 

(1) the progress made in securing a long term and sustainable future for

Ladywell Playtower, and the quality and calibre of all the shortlisted proposals

to reach the final stage of what has been a highly competitive process be

noted;

 

(2) the project team’s analysis of the strengths and challenges associated with

each of the final proposals be noted;

 

(3) the comments made by the general public and stakeholders through the

public consultation be noted;

 

(4) Having considered open and closed reports, Guildmore Curzon be

appointed as a preferred provider for securing the long term sustainable future

of Ladywell Playtower;

 

(5) a reserve bidder, RJK/Copeland Park and Hillman, be appointed who can

replace the preferred provider in the case of a withdrawal from the process

and/or a lack of progression towards Ladywell Playtowers restoration and

revival;

 

(6) authority be delegated to the Executive Director for Resources and

Regeneration, in consultation with the Head of Law, to agree final terms with

the preferred provider and to finalise the terms of all land disposals and all

other legal documentation with the preferred provider or any of their group

companies; and

 

(7) authority be delegated to the Executive Director for Resources &

Regeneration to ascertain whether best consideration is being certified, to

consider whether the terms of the general consent under Section 123 of the

Local Government Act 1972 apply and to make an application to the

Secretary of State for a specific disposal consent should this be necessary.

Minutes:

The Mayor received detailed presentations from the Deputy Mayor and

Officers in the Resources and Regeneration Directorate on the four bids for

the future use of the iconic Ladywell Playtower.

 

The Mayor next received a presentation from Rebecca Manson Jones of the

Just Jones Theatre on behalf of What Next Lewisham, the local arm of a

national non-hierarchical movement promoting arts and culture. She spoke in

support of the bid by RJK/Copeland Park and Hillman which she believed

could give a massive boost to the growth of arts and culture in the locality.

 

Callum Heckstall-Smith spoke on behalf of Ladywell Traders Association in

support of the 600 seat cinema bid by Picturehouse which he saw as a

desirable way to increase footfall and thereby trade in Ladywell.

 

Robert Smith briefed the Mayor on consideration made by the Ladywell

Society. The Society felt there should have been more consultation and a

second public meeting but had no firm position on a preferred bidder.

 

Tony Rich of the Lewisham Building Preservation Trust explained his

charitable trust existed to see at risk buildings refurbished and reused. He

said all four bidders had the potential to succeed but that the Picturehouse

proposal should be preferred as it entailed less enabling development.

 

Nia Hughes spoke on behalf of BECTU and explained she had been a

Picturehouse employee for a decade and was a part time union organiser.

She stated Picturehouse did not pay the London Living Wage and had made

repeated attempts to undermine her Union with a free to join in house staff

forum. She stated Curzon was an ethical employer and hoped their bid would

be successful.

 

Councillor Liz Johnston-Franklin spoke on behalf of all three Ward

Councillors. She said all four bids had been carefully scrutinised to see how

the applications would complement the local Ladywell community. The Ward

Councillors had concluded that they could not support any bidder who was not

committed to the London Living Wage and they asked the Mayor to only

consider bids from organisations committed to paying at least the London

Living Wage.

 

The Mayor thanked all the speakers for their contributions and reported he

had received a petition on the proposal as well as many emails raising other

issues. He then invited Cabinet Members to raise questions with the

presenting officers on the four bids.

 

The Mayor summed up by thanking the four bidders and the many other

organisations which had submitted expressions of interest. There had been

concerns about the building for many years but the Council had not been in a

position to attempt restoration. Hence bids had been invited by the Council on

a non prescriptive basis. The Mayor said he was very pleased four credible

bids had been made. All four were capable of delivery and it was a pure

coincidence that two of them proposed a cinema. The Mayor believed his

decision would be a judgement call leaving some very good bidders

disappointed. He explained many issues had to be taken into account and he

highlighted three which had influenced his thinking.  These were to ensure the

Playtower was secured and restored, that something fresh would be offered

for Ladywell and that any development was on the right scale for the locality.

 

After careful consideration the Mayor concluded his decision was one

expressing preferences based on very fine margins and that he was launching

a process which would entail much work and planning before completion. He announced that Guildmore Curzon would be appointed as a preferred provider for securing the long term sustainable future of Ladywell Playtower and that the reserve bidder would be RJK/Copeland Park and Hillman.

 

Having considered open and confidential officer reports and presentations by

the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Alan Smith, and representatives of the Just

Jones Theatre, Ladywell Traders Association, the Ladywell Society,

Lewisham Building Preservation Trust, BECTU, and Councillor Liz Johnston-

Franklin on behalf of the Ladywell Ward Councillors, the Mayor, from the options available;

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(1) the progress made in securing a long term and sustainable future for

Ladywell Playtower, and the quality and calibre of all the shortlisted proposals

to reach the final stage of what has been a highly competitive process be

noted;

 

(2) the project team’s analysis of the strengths and challenges associated with

each of the final proposals be noted;

 

(3) the comments made by the general public and stakeholders through the

public consultation be noted;

 

(4) Having considered open and closed reports, Guildmore Curzon be

appointed as a preferred provider for securing the long term sustainable future

of Ladywell Playtower;

 

(5) a reserve bidder, RJK/Copeland Park and Hillman, be appointed who can

replace the preferred provider in the case of a withdrawal from the process

and/or a lack of progression towards Ladywell Playtowers restoration and

revival;

 

(6) authority be delegated to the Executive Director for Resources and

Regeneration, in consultation with the Head of Law, to agree final terms with

the preferred provider and to finalise the terms of all land disposals and all

other legal documentation with the preferred provider or any of their group

companies; and

 

(7) authority be delegated to the Executive Director for Resources &

Regeneration to ascertain whether best consideration is being certified, to

consider whether the terms of the general consent under Section 123 of the

Local Government Act 1972 apply and to make an application to the

Secretary of State for a specific disposal consent should this be necessary.

 

The meeting closed at 7.30pm.

Supporting documents: