Goldsmiths giving "serious and urgent" consideration to Stop the Rot agenda

Last week, Isobel Williams, a New Cross resident, posted a guest blog on Brockley Central, to launch a campaign to persuade Goldsmiths to take responsibility for its rotting portfolio of local property.

In response, Brian Lymbery, an independent member of Goldsmiths Council, the governing body of the College, and a resident of St Donnatts Road, has told us:

Over two years ago the Council approved a strategic master plan for the college estate with the emphasis on the main campus and on improving facilities for students.

The Estates Department has been working to implement this plan as resources allow. One point in the plan was a recognition of the need to take action over unused properties, such as the houses in St Donatts Road, which are outside the main campus.

We had a Council meeting on Tuesday night and I spoke to the Warden about Isobel Williams’ blog and the many comments that followed. I understand that the college is giving serious and urgent consideration to the disposal of unused properties which are isolated from the main campus.

I think that this is the right thing to do and it would bring benefits not only to local communities but to the college as well. I think the future for the terrace of buildings between the New Cross House and the Town Hall is more problematic.

They are part of the main campus but the problem boils down to the fire regulations requirements and an acute lack of money in these uncertain times for universities. Incidentally I applied to join Goldsmiths Council, unpaid, in response to a press advertisement some three years ago.

Minutes of Council meetings are publicly available on the College website (on the main menu click about us/official/committees or


Anonymous said...

'They are part of the main campus but the problem boils down to the fire regulations requirements and an acute lack of money in these uncertain times for universities.'

Please elaborate?

Anonymous said...

Lack of funding...

So why not selling the properties outside the campus in order to fund the work inside the campus?

Surely owning property outside the compus is not the core business of Goldsmith, so the Council should do what private companies do when they are short of cash: sell the superflous assets to focus on the core ones as an alternative to waiting for the usual public handouts.

Considering you haven't even bothered to maintain the properties to a rentable standard, the minimum you should do is to give the opportunity to few more families to own a property.

Lou Baker said...

Speak to a developer.

Offer to give them the non core properties.

In return they refurbish the core ones.

Simples. Even for a former poly.

Feeding the troll, sorry said...

Hey, Lou is being simplistic, rude, patronising and idiotic. He's like the stupid datum that we can all calibrate against.

You'd think having well regarded academic institution on your doorstep would be a cause for celebration. Apparently not.

Anonymous said...

Lou, next you'll be complaining that a public body gave away hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of assets for just a cheap refurb job worth a fraction of the value.

Your idea might be simple, but it does also seem a bit stupid.

Anonymous said...

You used the word 'simples'.

Tressilliana said...

You're on the internet, Lou. That makes it very easy to have a go at checking facts. Goldsmiths is not a former poly. It's a constitutent college of the University of London and a member of the 1994 group of universities, whose other members are Bath, Birkbeck, Durham, East Anglia, Essex, Exeter, Institute of Education,Royal Holloway, Lancaster, Leicester, Loughborough, Queen Mary, Reading, St Andrew's, SOAS, Surrey, Sussex and York. The 1994 group universities are as research-intensive as the Russell Group but a bit smaller.

And even if Goldsmiths had previously been a poly, that wouldn't automatically make it a bad place.

Grow up.

Lou Baker said...

@ tressiliana

Touchy touchy. Where is Goldsmiths rated ? Didn't the Good University Guide make it something like 84th best university in the country? What company does that put it in? University of Bedford level?

The fact is if uni is going to cost up to £9k a year you really don't want to be spending it on a mediocre institution.

As for the various anons dismissing the idea of getting a developer to refurbish the core properties in return for giving them the non-core ones - what better suggestion do you have? My suggestion gets both areas refurbished - for minimal cost for Goldsmiths. Everyone else has come up with insults about why it won't work but no potential solutions.

NAT said...

Lou 'Lack of funding.. So why not selling (sic) the properties outside the campus in order to fund the work inside the campus?', was the first and very cogent Anons suggestion, which you must have read before you typed your own lamentable 'solution'

Anonymous said...

Lou, please stop for your own reputation and for the sake of our sanity. Goldsmiths is a good university, you are a windbag. Both these things are demonstrable facts.

Your puffed up arrogance reveals an awful lot about you. On second thoughts, keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Is Lou Baker Mr Hyde to Brockley Central's Dr Jekyll?

Anonymous said...

It would be fun to debate the pros and cons of Goldsmiths College, it is a bit of an academic curates egg.

But that would be beside the point, it is their estates policy and its negative impact on the local area that is at issue here.

I often look around the area and ask myself who is responsible for some of the neglect. When it is a public institution like this, we all have an interest and it should be prodded to encourage it to take its wider responsibilities to the community more seriously.

These buildings should be brought back into use. When will Goldsmiths develop a plan that makes use of these derelict buildings or passes them to someone who can?

patrick1971 said...

"They are part of the main campus but the problem boils down to the fire regulations requirements and an acute lack of money in these uncertain times for universities."

Completely agree with others who've said these should then be sold. They're not "problematic" - if Goldsmiths can't or won't do something with these buildings they should be sold off to someone who can.

I'd also be interested to know more about these apparently onerous fire regulations requirements; the shops look like fairly standard Victorian stock in which people are living and working all over London.

It's great that Goldsmiths have responded but I do wonder if they underestimate the amount of local anger about this dilapidated parade, the neglect of which is being actively encouraged by the college's (in)actions.

Goldsmiths, University of London said...

Hello. I’m Hugh Jones, the Registrar and Secretary at Goldsmiths. We try to be good neighbours but it looks like we haven’t been so in relation to 38 and 80 St Donnatts. I am sorry.

We’re looking seriously at options for the two properties. We’re a public body so need to take into account long-term and short-term needs of the College. If we do think that selling the properties is the best option, we’ll need to seek the approval of our Finance and Resources Committee. This is made up of independent members of our governing body.

As and when we make decisions – and this is a live issue for us as well as those of you who have posted – we’ll do our best to let you know. In the meantime, if you have any questions, problems or queries about the properties, please get in touch with us by emailing and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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