26 October 2009

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 still were getting frustrated about poor recycling services.

We will be getting in touch with council on behalf of all the people we spoke to see if something can be done. But it shouldn't have to be like this. The leadership of Southwark Council should be investing in services to make them more responsive and driving changes which deliver high levels of customer service. One of the reasons Victoria, Renata and I are so keen to get involved in local politics is so that we can campaign for Southwark Council to become more responsive to local people's needs.

For me, that means two things. On the one hand there is the need to help people to pick their way through the council bureaucracy and get things done. On the other, it means campaigning for a Labour council which has the values and, very importantly, the competence to run a huge organisation like Southwark council. It's that second part of the equation which is probably less fashionable at the moment. But I really don't think people living on Mundania Road will see a sustainable difference in the level of service they recieve until there is a change at the top in Southwark. In the meantime, we'll keep doing our best to help people living in our area.

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