WRITE TO THE GUY'S AND ST THOMAS' FOUNDATION
The Guy's and St Thomas' Foundation is a £1billion health charity. Yet it has reneged on commitments to negotiate a lease extension even though it can't develop the site for at least a year, forcing out other charities and small businesses over Christmas.
We need the Guy's and St Thomas' Foundation to act!
Please use (or adapt) the template below to write to
the Chair of Trustees to ask them to honour their commitments. PLEASE INCLUDE THE P.S!
You can use or amend this wording for your email to the Chair of Trustees of the
£1billion Guy's and St Thomas' Foundation
P.S. Don't forget to include the P.S as part of your email!
Email address for the Chair of Trustees:
Subject of email:
Please extend the Old Paradise Yard lease now
Text of email:
Dear Ms Given
To ease the passage of the Royal Street Planning Application, the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation (GSTF) made commitments about extending the lease for Old Paradise Yard (OPY). I’ve heard that GSTF is now reneging. Please immediately extend the lease for an interim period and enter negotiations about a more formal extension.
It was always known that the OPY lease would expire in January 2024 but GSTF told Lambeth and the Mayor of London that you (GSTF) would negotiate an extension if the development was delayed and you would offer OPY tenants space in the new development. You are now breaking the first of those commitments and making a mockery of the second.
The Oasis Farm is adjacent to OPY. Its lease expired in July but GSTF did not allow the Farm to close. Instead, you extended the lease. Now Oasis Farm is advertising for a Farm Events Manager on a 12 months contract, so they clearly expect to remain on site for at least a year. Oasis supports your proposed development.
At the same time as you extended Oasis Farm’s lease, you were promising to negotiate about extending the OPY lease. However, GSTF never engaged in the promised negotiations. After ignoring requests to open negotiations on an extension for several months, GSTF dropped the bombshell in a meeting on 25 October that you are now refusing to extend the lease or to negotiate about it at all. Some (but not all) OPY tenants have actively campaigned for a more sustainable version of the development proposed by Lambeth's Planning Dept in January 2022.
GSTF have admitted privately that the difference in treatment is punishment for the campaign. However much you now deny that officially, GSTF said what they said!
GSTF told Lambeth and the Mayor of London that “existing small businesses within Old Paradise Yard are also being targeted as intended beneficiaries of the affordable workspace programme. This could include temporary space within Becket House as well space within the completed development.” Also “In terms of mitigation measures for business occupiers, the applicant has drawn attention to the proposed re-accommodation of the businesses within Old Paradise Yard… and the possibility that they will be able to be provided with affordable workspace on a temporary basis within Becket House or nearby or within the completed development…”. And further “No demolition of… the Holy Trinity Centre [the main building at OPY] shall take place until a contract has been placed for the construction of Plot A and evidence of such contract has been submitted to the local planning authority. Reason: To ensure that acceptable replacement development has been secured”.
The above is just a sample of the evidence of GSTF’s commitments.
Now that the Secretary of State has taken an interest, the planned development cannot proceed in less than 12-18 months. OPY tenants believed that GSTF would honour its commitments to negotiate an extension and have therefore been planning activities and events for the year ahead. As a result of GSTF precipitately reneging on its commitments to negotiate, the charities and small businesses are being forced out over Christmas.
OPY tenants have no chance of taking up space in the new development as it is at least 12-18 months away, and GSTF’s behaviour means that some of them may fold well before then.
Please reconsider, grant a short-term extension to the OPY without delay and open negotiations over an extension until the proposed development can proceed.
Sign-off: please include your name and your postcode, especially if you are in Lambeth
P.S. GSTF often respond to concerns by copying and pasting alleged benefits of your proposed development, or referring to derisory “support packages”. If you do choose to respond to me, what I really want to know is (a) why GSTF reneged on your commitments to negotiate an extension, (b) how you justify the difference in treatment between Oasis Farm and OPY and (c) how it better supports GSTF’s charitable objectives for OPY tenants to leave now rather than remaining onsite for a further 12-18 months.