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Happy New Year from Peckham Rye Labour (and the Ivydale cats..)

We hope that readers have had wonderful Christmases and we wish you and your families the very best for 2010.

In a shameless attempt to convince you that 2010 is the year to end the Lib Dem/Tory administrative chaos in Southwark, we're introducing a new extreme tactic to our campaigning - the endorsement of the beautiful Ivydale Road cats, Noel and Liam. For some months now Noel and Liam have been hanging out with lots of other Peckham Rye cats and the message in our gardens is clear - cats everywhere would do better under Labour!

We look forward to talking to even more residents in 2010 and making sure that we keep speaking up for Peckham Rye and getting the improvements to schools, recycling, housing and crime prevention that our area needs.

Best wishes,
Victoria, Gavin & Renata.

(Please be reassured that no cats were harmed in the production of this blog.)

Update on Peckham Rye Common toilets

An important development regarding the former toilets on Peckham Rye Common.

It seems we may have had some success in convincing the council that this shouldn't be a commercial enterprise. We've just received an e-mail from "Peckham Rye Projects" saying that the council have now offered them the contract to restore and maintain the toilets building. For those who haven't previously heard of Peckham Rye projects, I'm sure they won't mind me briefly quoting their e-mail here:

"We are a not-for-profit gallery offering outreach programs to local schools and groups. We intend to sensitively restore the building, maintain the gardens and to open the gallery toilets to the public. We also intend to offer the building to community groups for use when the gallery is closed for business. We are aware that M.O.L and common land restrictions apply to any alteration of the building."

They applied for a Cleaner Greener Safer grant to restore this building befor…

Peckham Rye - 'central area' options

Local residents and blog readers may remember previous posts about the plans for what Southwark Council calls the 'central area' of Peckham Rye - essentially the area around the cafe near where the Common and Park meet.

In summary a new One O'Clock club is planned, as is a natural play area. New changing facilities will follow although funding for these is still to be secured.

Last Wednesday, like many other locals, I turned up at the cafe to see the initial plans. I'm not sure what had happened but because the cafe wasn't open the meeting could not go ahead. I've subsequently been sent the plans. I was expecting a little more detail on what the new buildings and development might look like but below are the two options currently being proposed. They are are really just an overview of how facilities might be laid out.

I've emailed the council to find out when the meeting might now take place - the drawings are helpful but I think we all need to know a little b…

Ivydale Road - update from the council

Update from the Council on Ivydale traffic calming and road works. This letter should have dropped with residents in the last day or so. If you click on the image it will enlarge and you'll be able to read it.

Send a message to Southwark on Recycling

We recently reported the news that Southwark’s recycling rate was sixth lowest in the country. The Lib Dems pledged to increase the recycling rate to 30% by next year, but they’re missing that target by almost ten per cent.

To get some pressure put on the Lib Dems on this crucially important issue, Southwark Labour have set up a petition calling for a recycling system which which is easier to use and deals with a wider variety of materials.

If enough people take the time sign this petition then would can present it to the Lib Dem environment boss at the January council assembly meeting. This would force him to explain what is going wrong in Southwark and to tell us directly what he is planning to do to improve the recycling rate.

If you want your borough to improve its recycling rate and catch up with all the hundreds of councils currently putting Southwark to shame, I would strongly urge you take a moment to sign the petition here

Ivydale Road - update on the chaos... which will reach Peckham Rye but not until Feb 2010

Many residents (including myself) have been trying to find out what's going on with the traffic calming measures on Ivydale Road, Nunhead. Back in November I blogged on news that work had started between St Asaph's Road and Athenlay Road (Nunhead ward) and that residents who lived beyond this (Peckham Rye) ward should expect work to start around 30th November although the council would write to us first.

However no letters have been received by residents who live on this bit of Ivydale (including myself) and when a written statement from the Council, presented at Community Council on 9th December, declared that work had started on the 30th November it was clear that things were going a little awry!

I've been in regular touch with Cllr Fiona Colley of Nunhead ward about this as I was particularly concerned about what was happening with the 343 and 484 buses that many locals are reliant on. I've heard from her today about the chaos that is reining on the Nunhead end of Ivy…

What would you like to see happen to the former public toilets on Peckham Rye Common?

As I've mentioned in a previous post, last Wednesday's Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council passed a motion regarding the former public toilets on Peckham Rye Common. The motion set up a group, lead by local Labour Councillor Gordon Nardell, which will make suggestions to Southwark Council on alternative uses which might be made of this building. Those present at the meeting rightly felt that local people should come up with some alternative proposals to the current plan: Southwark Council seems hell bent on renting the building out as a shop, despite the fact that it's on common land. In case you're not sure which building I'm writing about, it's located near East Dulwich Road here.

At the meeting I asked Councillor Nardell if I might become a member of this sub-group. He agreed, and I think membership is open to anyone who is interested in joining. The group will be coming together in the near future to hold the first meeting.

Personally, I'm incline…

Southwark's housing failure 'red flagged' by Audit Commission

Gavin and I spent today delivering our local newsletters. The lead story is on housing and sets out Labour's action plan to tackle the terrible state of social housing following seven and a half years of neglect by the Lib Dems and Tories running Southwark Council.

The council’s failure to improve social housing was singled out by the Audit Commission this week. Southwark is one of only two councils in London to receive a ‘red flag’ for its housing services, which means that housing problems are “not being tackled adequately”

Yet the response from the Lib Dem Council Leader Nick Stanton was out of touch with reality - he has failed to acknowledge that the council has been reprimanded by the Audit Commission in any of his statements to the local press.

We've picked up lots casework from Peckham Rye residents living in social housing in recent months but one sticks in mind as particularly upsetting.

A few weeks ago I met a young man who had been housed by Southwark because he's…

Bog standard update (Part 2)

The Kafkaesque saga of the former public toilets on Peckham Rye Common (East Dulwich Road) continues unabated. For those of you not familiar with this situation, here's a very brief summary. Earlier this year, Southwark Council decided to rent out this building as a commercial venture. Without stopping to check if they were allowed to do this with a property that is situated on common land, they advertised for tenants. Someone responded saying they wanted to open a cycle shop and the council agreed. Since then little has happened and the building remains closed.

Four months ago at Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council, a number of local people, including myself, Victoria and Renata asked officers why they had not checked on the legal status of the common land and why the building could not be put to community use or even reopened as toilets. "We'll come back to you" they said. Since then they have consistently failed to give a straight answer to these questions. M…

Southwark given £1.2 million for one to one tuition for local school children: a teacher tells us more...

The Government’s one to one tuition initiative is something that Labour should be proud of – it’s a really simple policy that will transform the learning of those who are struggling with English and Maths and I think it will ultimately benefit all the other children they learn with.

This week Southwark was awarded £1.2million to help fund one to one tuition for local 7 to 16 year olds who are most in need. The scheme was originally piloted back in January and has been a huge success.

To help convince you I asked my Mum to tell me a bit more about the scheme. She was was a state primary school teacher for over 30 years until she retired two years ago. She’s recently gone back to work a couple of hours a week as a one to one tutor. She’s passionate about teaching and has a real insight into this subject. Here's what she told me:

I've helped children with maths and literacy. The selected children are given extra tuition for an hour per week for 10 weeks, this hour takes place out o…

Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council - THIS WEDNESDAY

Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council, which covers Peckham Rye, Nunhead and Lane wards, takes place this Wednesday 9 December at 7:00pm at St Mary Magdalene Primary School, 48 Brayards Road.

Community councils are a good chance to get involved with council plans and ideas for our local area, ask questions and get questions asked of you.

Local Councillors and council officers attend and sometimes members of the council executive come along too. Public participation is important and there are usually 30-50 local people there. If you live locally you are very welcome to come along - the more the merrier!

You can check out the full agenda and reports and other information on the Southwark Council website. Big issues for this meeting include a large section on local arts and culture and the 2012 Olympics and the start of the 'Cleaner, Greener, Safer' Programme for 2010/2011. CGS money is available every year and local groups are encouraged to apply for it to help make or support …

A different approach on housing

In recent months, we've been pretty strident in our criticism of Southwark council's mismanagement of the housing maintenance budget. It's a crucially important issue for people living in social housing in Peckham Rye and we clearly think the Lib Dem/Tory leadership is letting tenants and leaseholders down. That said, it isn't enough for us to simply carp from the sidelines. Southwark's Labour candidates and councillors also have a responsibility to say what we would do differently if Labour were to run Southwark council.

Southwark Labour has been looking at alternatives very closely and the outline of an alternative approach is taking shape. As we get closer to the 2010 local elections, more specific proposals will be put forward, but for now, some general principles are already in place. Southwark Labour's six point plan for improving housing services in the borough looks like this:-

1. Appoint a separate, professional Housing Director. (Amazingly, Southwark do…

Peckham Rye Project - display of options

Just a quick notice. I've just recieved the e-mail notification from Southwark Council about the display of development options for the Peckham Rye Project. Details of the options are going to be put on display on 16th December from 6:30 - 9pm at the Cafe on the Rye.

I'd encourage anyone interested in this vital project to try and get along to this event. According to the e-mail, it is going to be an open meeting at which people will be able to discuss the options with the designers and park staff themselves.

Southwark adult social service quality plummets

The quality of social care provided by Southwark Council has fallen from ‘excellent’ to ‘adequate’ in just a year, according to an inspection report published by Care Quality Commission yesterday. The report also said that the council’s prospects for improvement were ‘uncertain’. This is awful - looking after vulnerable and older people is something that should be top of the council's priority list, regardless of which political party is in charge.

Southwark received an ‘excellent’ rating for social care services from the CQC’s predecessor the Commission for Social Care Inspection in 2007/08. Subsequently the Lib Dem/Tory executive has forced through a series of changes to the service - withdrawing social care for those with moderate needs (around 900 people), hiking meals on wheels prices up by almost 50% and scrapping on-site wardens for sheltered accommodation. Presumably these policies have contributed to this terrible drop in quality.

Labour opposed these changes as we were ver…

Some candidates are more local than others . . .

Cheeky, I admit, but we’ve decided to make an offer to our Lib Dem opponents in Peckham Rye.

Some of the recent statements made by Lib Dems standing in this ward for the council elections have been a little wacky to say the least. They seem determined to steer clear of the issues and their local newsletters routinely deny any responsibility for running Southwark council for the past 7 ½ years.

We thought that maybe their refusal to talk about the concerns of local people (such as the allocation of primary school places, the hole in the housing maintenance budget and the council’s poor recycling record) might be down to the distance they live from the ward. You see, none of them live in Peckham Rye and two of the three live a twenty minute bus ride away. Maybe they’re having trouble getting over to our part of Southwark? Maybe the recent rain and cold weather has been putting them off making the trip?

It’s relatively easy for us to talk to people in Peckham Rye because they’re our neighbo…

Labour gives £12million for new permanent primary classrooms

Some good news for the primary school places campaign - the Labour Government has announced that Southwark will be given over £12 million for new permanent primary classrooms.

This year dozens of parents were left without an offer of a local school in East Dulwich and Peckham Rye as the number of applications outstripped the Lib Dem executive’s expectations.

Together with Southwark’s Labour councillors we are now calling for details of how and where the money will be spent so that the classrooms are built by the government’s deadline of September 2011 and so that the lion's share of this cash is spent in our area.

Southwark Labour’s Education spokesperson Cllr Veronica Ward has welcomed this much needed cash boost:

“The Government has recognised that there’s a long-term shortage of school places in the borough, despite the Lib Dem Council Leader’s complacent claims that we ‘coped relatively well this year’.

“This is great news and a serious amount of money, which will go a long way to …

The co-ordination of road works? Surely not?

For anyone frustrated by the same roads being dug up over and over again to do different jobs, help may be at hand.

Val Shawcross' report on a new scheme that would enable the highways authorities to coordinate road works shows that common sense may at last be coming to the fore. Our London Assembly member is right to encourage as many of London's local authorities as possible to participate in this scheme. It's clearly idiotic for the same road to be dug up twice, when all the work could be done in one go. It costs more money and causes more disruption.

But as of 16th November, Southwark Council was still one of 15 London Authrorities that hadn't signed up to the scheme. Peckham Rye Labour will be writing to the council to urge them to do so.

Demand action on climate change: Join The Wave on Sat 5th Dec

None of the great changes in our history have come without popular pressure, and action to tackle climate change will be no different. In the few days we have left before the Copenhagen climate talks it is vital that people and campaigners from all walks of life act at home and abroad to help build the momentum we need to get the right deal for the planet.

So what are you doing next Saturday? Why now join thousands of people in central London - for the UK's biggest ever climate demonstration - as we demand that political leaders commit to a fair and robust climate deal in Copenhagen that puts the world's poor at its heart.

The plan:
Assembly & rally: 12.00pm, Grosvenor Square
March sets off 1.00pm (please see route below)
Climax: 3.00pm Encircling of Parliament
Dress code: Blue! Please bring blue gloves if you have them, or paint your hands blue for the 3.00pm climax!
Lots more info is available from the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition.

I've volunteered to help steward and will b…

More on recycling

Firstly, sorry about the silence from Peckham Rye Labour over the last week. The combination of a trip away and a spot of flu has kept us uncharacteristically quiet.

We'll start up again with a reference to a Southwark News story which reiterates something we were blogging about last week: Southwark council's terrible recycling rate.

Take a look at the story for some further details on this issue, but the most interesting thing is the quote from the Council Spokesperson. They say that the increase in recycling achieved since 2002 is a "massive increase which we should be really proud of." Come again? We're the 6th worst council in England and we're supposed to be proud?

If every other local authority in the country had not increased their recycling rates over the last 7 1/2 years, they might have a point. But clearly this is not the case. Southwark needs to get real about just how far behind the rest of the pack they are when it comes to recycling.

Ivydale road works and traffic calming update

I posted about the Ivydale Road traffic calming last month and this is just a quick update.

Back in October the council told me that the work, initially planned for late spring/summer, would eventually begin in November. The first stage is the resurfacing of Ivydale Road from its junction with St Asaph's Road to its junction with Limesford Road (in Nunhead ward). This work was scheduled to start on 12th November but I understand that it actually started today. That bit of Ivydale Road is now closed with the P12 on diversion via St St Asaph's road and the Honor Oak estate before going back on route at Brenchley Gardens.

Stage two is the resurfacing of rest of Ivydale (this is the bit in Peckham Rye ward and is where I live). The start date I had was 23rd November but if things are a little behind, and I haven't heard anything, I suspect this means this might still be a week or two away. I'm waiting to hear what this means for the 343 and 484.

Stage three is the constructio…

Trying to do my bit to protect our environment...

We're now just days away from the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen where political leaders really need to make some big and bold commitments about cutting emissions and making money available to fund mitigation of, and adaptation to, the impacts of climate change in developing countries, where some of the world's poorest people are already experiencing changing weather patterns.

It's a big challenge and despite the tireless work of Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband (come on, give them a break - you really can't knock them on this one..) it seems that the summit might not deliver all it needs to - but I'll blog more on this later.

However, what can we as individuals do? After all domestic emissions count for about 40% of all UK CO2 emissions.

I'll blog more about my campaign to recycle and compost as much as possible, insulate the loft, the recent installation of an energy efficient boiler and perhaps even my make-do-and-mend living room which features some lovely…

Recycling in Southwark - 6th worst in England

Under the control of Liberal Democrat councillors, Southwark council has officially become the 6th worst council in England for recycling it’s rubbish. New figures released by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs have brought the incredible news that Southwark has dropped in the national league table of councils from 10th worst to 6th worst. That means there are now 388 local authorities in England who do a better job of recycling than Southwark.

The council’s woeful performance on this issue is bringing national attentionto our part of south London. An inner London council with a population which is desperate to see more of their waste recycled is being seriously let down by the ruling parties.

When they took charge of Southwark in 2002, the Lib Dems promised to increase the borough’s recycling rate to 30% by 2010. Not only have they failed to meet that promise, but when compared to the rest of the country, they have actually taken the council backwards.

Recycling rates…

Primary school admissions in Southwark: What's the Story?

Victoria and Gavin with Cllr Fiona Colley, who chaired the meeting which looked into the council's handling of primary school admissions in our area.
Those of you who attended last month’s public meeting on primary school admissions in our area were treated a good deal of bluff from both Lib Dem councillors and council officers. At times they made it sound as if local parents were being positively rude for asking questions about the council’s administration of this year’s admissions.

But the proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. We know the process has been poorly handled because of the huge levels of concern demonstrated by local parents. This didn’t happen in other boroughs, and it happened in Southwark for a reason.

Peckham Rye’s Labour Councillor Robert Smeath recently sought to get to the bottom of the situation in Southwark with a question at the last full council meeting. Councillor Smeath asked the Leader of the Council to:

“Please detail the percentage of new a…

Sad and shocking day

Just a short post about the sad news that the cafe on Peckham Rye Common suffered a fire last night. On the positive side, the fire was restricted to the office accommodation at the rear of the cafe. The building's fire doors prevented the fire from spreading and the alarm system alerted the fire brigade who responded promptly. Good and robust design are essential (sadly) for buildings such as this and it would seem that the cafe has been well built. Whether further preventative measures or CCTV can now be usefully installed is something we will raise with the council.

On an even more shocking note is the news that Delroy Grant, a resident of 'Brockley' was today charged with five rapes, six indecent assaults and 11 burglaries. From the media and police presence I came across on my way home this evening, it appears that Mr Grant lived just within the Southwark boundary, in Peckham Rye ward. My thoughts are with the victims of these crimes and local residents.

Val Shawcross joins us in Peckham Rye to talk buses

We braved the rain and wind earlier today to talk to people on St Aidan's Road, Marcus Garvey Mews and Dunstan's Road about local bus services.

We know that in Peckham Rye ward lots of people, including ourselves, are reliant on bus services. That’s why we’re particularly worried by the Mayor’s recent proposals to cut bus services and funding.

We were delighted that our London Assembly Member, Val Shawcross, who is also deputy chair of the Assembly’s Transport Committee and Labour Spokesperson for Transport was able to join us. You can read Val's response to the Mayor's proposals here.

Generally, people are pretty happy with bus services, particularly the 63 and 363. However, many shared our concerns that less buses could have a big impact. I don't have a car so comments about making sure that you give yourself an extra 10 or 15 minutes to get somewhere on the bus ring true. Often you get lucky and a bus turns up straight away, but sometimes you don't, meaning red…

Who runs your council?

John O’Farrell’s 1998 book Things Can Only Get Better describes local government as “Not exactly what the marketing boys call 'sexy'”. He has a point. The labyrinthine world of bureaucracy, committees and local politics doesn’t always make your local authority the most appealing subject for reflection and debate. In fairness to John O’Farrell, he does go on to write about the reasons why council services are so important, and why we should care about who is in charge of them. Nevertheless, the point remains, local government can be impenetrable to the people who pay for and rely on its services.

An unfortunate side-effect of this is that when issues of importance are debated locally (such as the hole in the housing repairs budget or the council’s poor handling of primary school admissions this year) the facts of the matter are sometimes lost. In particular, those in positions of political responsibility often attempt to hide behind the structure of local government to avoid bei…

School fairs and admissions criteria

Several weeks ago we attended the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting which was investigating admissions to primary schools and the provision of places in Dulwich and East Dulwich. The treatment of parents by Southwark’s admissions team and the action needed to ensure adequate primary school places available were, of course, the main topics discussed. Thanks to pressure from local parents and their Labour representatives, Southwark’s Lib Dem/Tory administration has been forced to add staff to their admissions teams and put in place plans for extra “bulge” classes in local schools to cope with possible extra demand in the future.

But in addition to these shorter term measures, there was also discussion about what else could be done to avoid this year’s debacle being repeated in the longer term. One telling contribution to this debate came from the headteacher of a local primary that was performing extremely well for its pupils, but which was still consistently undersubscribed. The s…

Peckham Rye Common central area: Changing facilities and children's provision, Public Consultation

I love Peckham Rye Common and Park. Whether it's a for a jog or a stroll with family both the Common and Park are beautiful in all seasons. The wonderful show of autumn colours over the last few weeks has been brilliant.

Readers may know that for some time there have been various proposals floating around about the improvement and possible expansion of facilities on the Common and possibly also in the Park.

The One O'Clock Club is currently housed in the old PoW hut and, although a fascinating historical relic, £200K of funding has now been secured to build a much needed new centre. Hopefully a further £200K will be secured in the coming weeks to ensure the best possible facilities are built. Further funding is available for a natural play facility which will include a water play area.

Although funding has not been secured for new changing room facilities both on the Common and at Homestall Road these are being planned.

Where do you think these facilities will be best located? All…

Update on Peckham Rye Residents Survey

I thought I'd give you a quick update on the responses we've been getting to our online survey which we began advertising last week. The response so far has been great, and there are still a more coming in. Here's a sneak preview of the results of the priorities and recycling questions so far. In response to the question "Which services does the council needs to improve most?", the results were:

Recycling and bins - 26.9
Crime prevention - 50.0
Housing - 7.7
Things for young people to do - 26.9
Other - 46.2
Respondents could pick more than one answer, which is why the percentages don't add up to 100%

Of the "other" issues, school places was by far the most common response, perhaps reflecting the anxiety created by the council's poor administration and communication over primary schools admissions this year.

In response to the question, "What do you think the council should do to make recycling easier?" the results were:

Recycle tetra pack carto…

The human cost of Southwark's housing repairs failure

For some, it's difficult to quantify the human cost of a £700 million black hole in Southwark's budget for bringing council homes up to a decent standard. It sounds like a big number, but does it have much of an impact on real people's lives? Isn't this just a game of political claim and counter claim?

For those unfortunate enought to be living in one of Southwark's 18,000 sub-standard homes, the impact is only too real. For those individuals and families it can mean a home which is cold, damp and without even the most basic of facilities. Southwark's Labour Councillors have recently published "No Way To Live", a document which attempts to put some pressure on the Liberal Administration which refuses to tackle this crisis through cross party co-operation. Take a look at just one of the examples given in the document:

"In February 2008, a woman living with her three young children in Peckham reported to the council that her toilet ceiling leaked wit…

Local transport improvements - Peckham Rye/East Dulwich Road/Nunhead Lane

Improvements to these roads have come up at the last few Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community councils.

Each year Transport for London (TfL) allocates money to the council to deliver local transport improvements. For the next financial year (2010/11) the system used to allocate this funding is changing and should mean that the council, together with the community, can have more say in deciding what kind of schemes are implemented.

Back at the July Community Council meeting, the Council’s transport planners presented five potential schemes for our area (this covers not just Peckham Rye ward but also Nunhead and Lane wards) and asked us to vote on them.

One of these schemes was called ‘Peckham Rye South’ and covers both the east and west branches of Peckham Rye from Scylla Road and Dewar Street in the north down to Barry Road and Somerton Road to the south. The council’s transport planners stated: “These busy streets carry significant amounts of through traffic and crossing them can be diff…

Take the Peckham Rye residents' survey online

Over the next week residents in Peckham Rye will recieve a letter from Victoria, Renata and I, introducing ourselves as the Labour candidates in our area and setting out the issues that we think are crucial to Peckham Rye.

But we don't just to tell you about ourselves, we will also be seeking your views on council services and asking what issues you think are most important. To help us get your views we have enclosed a survey form.

People will be able to fill the survey out in hard copy and send it straight back to us by freepost. But for those of you who would prefer to take the survey via the internet, we have have also prepared an online survey. If you'd like to e-mail the the survey to your neighbours and friends you can use this link:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=XNnUtcHFIR12ZMGMdsWPnQ_3d_3dI hope you can take the time to complete the survey to let us know what you think . . .

Nunhead Community Centre - some success but campaign continues

'Peckham Rye' ward covers the south east part of Nunhead so yesterday, we went along to the Nunhead Community Forum AGM. Renata has been involved with the Forum for some time and is on its executive committee. (Residents campaigning against the closure)
The meeting started with a discussion about the next steps for securing an adequate community centre for Nunhead residents. Many Nunhead residents will have been following the campaign for a proper and adequate community centre for Nunhead for some time.

It's well over two years ago that the current centre was closed after one of the residents who ran the centre contracted legionnaires disease (maybe from the centre, maybe not). It was expected that the centre would reopen after the water systems had been given the all clear. Instead the council said it couldn't reopen without some quite substantial work being done. An initial report suggested about £300K was needed so local residents set about raising that money, knowin…

Southwark Caribb F. C. - Setting the standard

Out on Peckham Rye Park this morning, Vikki, Renata and I bumped into Carlton Scafe, President of the Southwark Caribb Football Club and other members of their coaching team. For those of you who haven't heard of Southwark Caribb before, they were started in 1999 and now run up to 15 different teams and training groups for young people in the Peckham and Dulwich area. The club is widely recognised as a model for youth football development and helped literaly hundreds of young people get active and involved in football. If you'd like to find out more about this great organisation, and maybe even offer your support, their website is here.

What I didn't know before speaking to Carlton this morning is that Southwark Caribb F. C. run an adult men's team as well. Vikki and Renata were quick to volunteer me to go along for a training session and see if I would make the grade. Carlton gave me the details for the next session, but sensibly warned me that the team was currently t…

Peckham Rye Station Developments

Attended the Rye Lane and Station Action Group (RLSAG) meeting this evening looking into the development of Peckham Rye Station and Peckham Town Centre. Rye Lane and the surrounding area isn't in Peckham Rye ward but it is an obvious 'high street' area for many of us who live locally.

The meeting started by looking into the potential for the station building. itself. This bore in mind that the station is listed and is of huge historic and architectural merit, that it needs to be made accessible and that there are some really exciting spaces within the building such as the Billiard Hall/Waiting Room that could be used by the community and which have also been subject to some restoration thanks to the Peckham Society, the Cleaner, Greener and Safer Neighbourhood Fund and other local residents.

Southern Rail gave an interesting presentation of the feasibility work they have done to make the station more accessible. They seemed sympathetic to the idea that the local community wo…

Peckham Rye common toilets: a bog standard update

Peckham Rye residents will be well aware that the public toilets based on Peckham Rye Common, here, have been closed up for a substantial amount of time. The reason for this is because Liberal Democrat Councillors who run Southwark are trying to let the building out for commercial purposes, rather than investing to bring it back into community use.

At the July community council meeting we were told the amazing news that the council hadn't even checked if they were allowed to let the site out, even though they had gone so far as to secure a tenant. Despite consistent warnings from local people, they hadn't bothered to check if there were legal restrictions on the common land. (Yes, the clue should have been in the name). In any case, in July we were told that this issue was going to be investigated as a matter of urgency. At tonight's Community Council meeting local residetns were told that the council is . . . wait for it . . . still looking into the restrictions on the lan…

Mundania Road looks for a change

A good evening out on Mundania Road this week gave us a real flavour of the kind of issues that are concerning residents in Peckham Rye. Mundania Road has a mix of residents whose views on council services provide lots of different perspectives. There are people renting from both private landlords and the council, as well as owner occupiers. Some residents own cars, whilst others rely on different forms of public transport.
What's interesting is that the variety of issues raised with us had a common thread. Far too often people are getting a wall of silence from their council when they report problems or try to access services. Victoria and I spoke to a number of residents living in social housing who had reported the need for some repairs to the council. Their issues were registered months ago, but no repairs have been carried out. They rang again, and still nothing was done. Other residents of Mundania Road told a similar story when it came to street cleaning issues. Others st…

Labour's latest weekend out in Peckham Rye . . .

I've just come in from another weekend spent out in the ward, talking to residents in Peckham Rye, and what a great weekend it was. A total of 33 Labour members came out to help knock on doors and speak to people in Peckham Rye Ward about how they feel about the services they are recieving from the Lib Dem controlled council.

Labour activists were also collecting signatures for our petition calling on the council to meet their responsibility to bring social housing in the borough up to a "decent" standard. Under Government set standards the council is supposed to make sure their housing stock is “warm, weatherproof and [has] reasonably modern facilities” by 2010. The Lib Dems had promised to go further than the decent homes standard at the last local elections in Southwark. True to form, they now tell us that they have a £700 million hole in their maintenance budget.

Of the hundreds of residents we spoke to today, most were outraged at hearing about the funding crisis. We …

Gavin

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Boris puts bus fares up 20%!

Boris has just announced the new bus and tube fares that will take effect in January. Not bound by any formula he has happily hiked our bus fares up by well above inflation. Pay as you go bus fares rise from £1 to £1.20 (a 12.7% rise) whilst a seven day bus pass will rise 20% from £13.80 to £16.60. And at the same time he's announced a cut in bus schedules....

It's all very well for him to say "Nobody wants to make an announcement like this, especially when Londoners are feeling the effects of the recession." But his actions speak louder than words.

Whilst tube fares also also going up it's those of us reliant on buses that have been hardest hit. Like many people in Peckham Rye, I rarely use the tube and am very reliant on the 484 and 343 - services that are always packed during the morning and evening peak hours.

So Boris' transport strategy seems to be to either price us off the buses or keep us queuing at the bus stops.

Meet the train managers

With thanks to the Forest Hill Society for highlighting this:

You can meet Southern Managers on the London Bridge Station concourse this Thursday 15 October from 7.30am-9.30am. A chance to tell them about the impact that South London Line cuts will have on your commute and to show your concern.

Southeastern are running a similar session at their information stand at Charing Cross station again on 15 October between 8.00am and 10.00am.

More on the proposed South London Line cuts can be found at:

Save the South London Line Facebook Group

And at Mayor's Question Time tomorrow (Weds) at 10.00am the first question to Boris will be about the cuts - "Will you express your support for the retention of the South London rail service from Victoria to London Bridge via Denmark Hill, and oppose any reduction in this service that is carried out for financial reasons rather than capacity reasons?" We await his reponse....