Decision details

Lambeth Archives Options Appraisal

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


An Options Appraisal has recently been commissioned for the Lambeth Archives Service as part of the Culture 2020 delivery programme approved by Cabinet in October 2015. This decision report will present the findings of this appraisal, review the options identified and make recommendations for the future long-term home for the Archives Service.

It is generally recognised that the present location for the borough archives are not fit for purpose and the storage conditions do not meet the necessary standards.

Taking into account the Council’s overall requirements in delivering an effective Archives Service, this report will make recommendations for the preferred option for the future location of the service, based on the capacity to fulfil the following criteria:

• Affordability both in terms of the capital and revenue required of the council to maintain both the service and facilities.
• Improved accessibility
• Utilising new technologies and address preservation and storage of current digital and born-digital records
• Maximising income generation
• Providing a destination where people can access the service, discover and learn about local identity and heritage
• Meeting the necessary standards for archive storage
• Be of sufficient capacity to house the existing collection and its projected expansion


The Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture, Councillor Sonia Winifred, introduced the report and explained the context of the Lambeth Archive Options Appraisal. She noted that the current Archives were not fit for purpose and difficult to get to for many local residents. The proposed scheme would relocate the Lambeth Archives Service to 301 Kennington Lane and in doing so secure an important local resource for future generations.


The Lead Commissioner for Strategic Housing, Regeneration and Communities, Donna Wiggins, then provided further information about the proposals. She explained that the Lambeth Archives would become a destination for local discovery and seek to generate revenue. Many different options for the future location of the Archives had been considered before arriving at the proposal to move to 301 Kennington Lane, either as a standalone facility or as part of mixed use development. The council would continue to work with local groups to encourage partnerships, outreach and digitalisation of records. Finally she noted that Recommendation 5 should be removed from the report as it had been added in error.


The Chair of the Lambeth Local History Forum, Bill Linskey addressed the committee and said that the group fully endorsed the recommendations. The Lambeth Local History Forum had been consulted on the proposals and would continue to support the process as a key stakeholder. The Archives were an important cultural and historical resource for residents and this decision would allow for the establishment of a long-term, sustainable local archives service. 


Cabinet members provided the following comments:


·         Thanks were expressed to Councillor Winifred who had worked with officers and stakeholders to deliver proposals roundly supported by local people.

·         The consultation process had been extensive and productive. 


In response to questions from members, the Director of Finance, Christina Thompson, added that consideration would be given to whether the site was eligible for capital funding. Additional premises costs of £17,000 per annum would be funded through corporate contingencies and additional one-off costs totalling approximately £15,000 which would be managed through existing service budgets. In the long term there budget would likely need to be increased.


The Chair praised the thorough consultation process and noted the importance of continued engagement with local stakeholders towards the delivery of the Archives. She then thanked councillors, officers and archives staff for their dedication and hard work.




1.    To agree that £90,000 be allocated from the Community Infrastructure Levy to develop a scheme to relocate the Lambeth Archives Service to 301 Kennington Lane as a standalone facility or as part of mixed use development on the site.

2.    For the Libraries and Archives Service in consultation with key stakeholders, including representatives from the Lambeth Local History Forum, other council departments and the National Archives, to produce a business case and development strategy for the service.

3.    To delegate authority to the Strategic Director Resources and the Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods and Growth in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture to identify the necessary capital and revenue budgets to deliver the implementation of the above.

4.    To work with the local community to agree the principles for the future of the Minet Library site.

5.    To agree that whilst the Archives remains at the Minet Library that the library opens as a self-service resource facility with trained library support for a minimum of two hours a day from the Hub Library team in accordance with the proposal set out in paragraphs 2.47 and 2.48 of the report.


Report author: Dawn Bunce

Publication date: 22/09/2017

Date of decision: 02/10/2017

Decided at meeting: 02/10/2017 - Cabinet

Effective from: 14/10/2017

Accompanying Documents: