When the Parking and Garages Team started in 2007, 60% of Lambeth Council’s garages stood empty and unused. Today that’s below 1 per cent. We let over 2,200 garages to residents, earning more than £1,300,000 a year, and we get widespread recognition for effective practice – which we’ve recently been invited to share with Tower Hamlets Homes, Peabody Trust, and Hammersmith, Kingston and Southwark Councils.
Space for enterprise
And the teamwork is not just all about keeping cars safe – the team also works with charities and community groups across Lambeth to provide workspace. For example, the bicycle recycling scheme which subsidises cycles and lessons, and the Remakery Project who provide affordable workspace for local residents, makers, artists and businesses to create products, enterprises and opportunities to help those at a disadvantage in the community. More partners include the Ebony Horse Club, Brixton People’s Kitchen, the Edible Bus Stop (who put planters across estates in the borough in exchange for garage space), and Edible Living projects where the council supports the community to grow food on estates. We even offered an art project a garage to store community sculptures.
Back to life, back to reality
Bringing mothballed garages back to life takes innovation and creativity to make the most of tight repairs budgets. Anyone who watches ‘Storage Wars’ on TV knows a garage can be a gold mine – and we’ve found and recycled roofing felt, guttering, locks, wood, and tools. We have developed project management and tendering skills to build value for money into contracts. We’ve reinvest the extra income into regenerating dozens of sites and hundreds of garages, transforming their aesthetics, providing valuable parking spaces and reducing anti-social behaviour. This has helped Lambeth be the only borough in London to offer free garages for Blue Badge holders.
What’s growing on…
Both the Urban Wild Project and the House of Lord recognised our Green Roofs scheme – boosting biodiversity and cutting air pollution and the risk of storm flooding. It’s just one example of how we’ve worked with community groups on transforming estates and creating green spaces in an urban environment. Next steps include a new mapping scheme, set to go live in 2017, which will give residents details about the sites (such as security measures) and how many garages are on each site.
Our team is extremely proud to create value for money when every penny is needed, and to support so many residents to ‘Do the Right Thing’.
For examples of how residents groups have expanded the Green Roofs scheme, see https://www.facebook.com/Green-Engineer-482764551786842/
Go online for more details of services from the Parking and Garages Team, including renting a garage from lambeth Council,
- Email: Garages@lambeth.gov.uk
- Call: 020 7926 6000
- Write to: Parking and Garages team, Lambeth Housing Management, The Springfield Centre, 110 Union Road, London SW8 2SH