This strategy has been thoroughly reviewed by the tenants and by occupiers throughout a lengthy consultation period.
Cllr Donatus Anyanwu, Cabinet Member for Voluntary Sector and Leisure, said: “The issue of equality and fairness has been brought to us by the sector, with many groups observing the significant differences between groups that occupied properties for a long time, paying very little annual rent, and new groups that paid significantly larger amounts of money for a similar space.
“This strategy also has the best interest of residents at heart- as users of these spaces, many residents have been using spaces that did not get the right amount of maintenance or repairs, often putting them at risk, and some buildings were not even accessible.”
More than £2.25 million will be invested in refurbishing properties, which will be on top of regular smaller maintenance repairs. Council buildings will now be rented on 10-year leases, with low rental levels, with tenants having to demonstrate how their work contributes towards the Borough Plan goals and the wellbeing of Lambeth residents.
Many buildings will benefit from significant repairs and more spaces will be available as groups will be encouraged to share their premises. Local groups looking for a new space will be able to join an online waiting list to either bid for any property that might become empty over time or to share spaces with existing tenants.
All organisations will pay a consistent rent, ensuring historical inequalities are removed, with a six-year phased transition in place for groups that are expected to pay more than they currently are. The rents will still be heavily subsidised by the Council, at the rate of £900,000 per year, and a new liaison role will be created in order to assist tenants with their properties.