We're a group of Streatham residents who love Streatham Common and the Rookery and want to see it managed better and improved for the benefit of all users of the common.
At a well attended public meeting held by the Friends of Streatham Common in late 2012, we discussed some broad proposals from the council regarding possible structures for future management of the common. It was decided at that meeting to set up a working group to look at options for some form of co-operative working with the council. Proposals from this working group to set up a Co-operative were presented at the Friends AGM in June 2013 and were backed by an overwhelming majority.
How we got started
Since then, we've been working along with the council and other supporters to try to progress this idea. We have been provided with a grant for pre-feasibilty funding from the SIB group for publicity, a business plan and legal work. We also have won consultancy support from the wider co-operative movement, provided by empower.
In 2013 the council consulted on major changes to how Lambeth's parks are run and we have worked with them to come up with a model that we hope will deliver better services while retaining the democratic oversight and responsibility that the council provides. On the 9th December 2013 the cabinet agreed in principle to establish a local co-operative to manage the Common, Rookery and memorial gardens with profits being reinvested back into the common. On the 9th July 2014, the council approved the Cooperative Parks Pioneer Support Programme, which provides SCCoop with funding to get started.
During the latter half of 2014, we worked with the council to take our proposals forward into a workable plan. We had agreement for these plans from the council in December 2014, and began services in the Rookery from February 2015. We felt that it was sensible to start with a smaller, although important, part of the area first at a time of year when the workload is relatively low during the winter months.
The rest of the common would continue to be managed as now until the current contract with Veolia ends in 2016. In 2016, following 50% budget cuts, Lambeth council stepped back in to maintain Streatham Common, however the Paddling Pool was earmarked for closure and there was a shaky start and even the basic services of cutting the grass and litter picking were visibly failing.
Thankfully Lambeth's services have now improved and in 2016, we took over the Paddling Pool on Streatham Common saving it from closure, and in 2017 started regular conservation work in the Streatham Common Local Nature Reserve. In 2018, after a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund, we have started work restoring the Cascade and Rock Garden.
Currently we are working with Lambeth Council to plan the next chapter for SCCoop.
Our name for this new organisation is the Streatham Common Co-operative or SCCoop. Officially our legal entity is called Streatham Common Community Operations Limited due to legal restrictions when we registered as an Industrial and Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community.
Most people we talk to can see how the Common is such a great resource for Streatham and how it could be so much better, we just need to get the community together to make sure the common is no longer overlooked and it too gets its share of parks investment in Lambeth. Please support us now.