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Showing posts from December, 2009

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…