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Showing posts from January, 2010

More 343 buses are on the way...

We’re delighted to tell you that Mayor Boris Johnson has at last listened to our calls to improve the frequency of the 343 bus in the morning peak. Following representations from Labour Assembly Member Val Shawcross and a number of local residents, TFL are proposing two extra buses towards London Bridge during the morning peak period.

On a separate but connected issue, Val Shawcross has recently met with the new company running the 343 to ask them about the poor reliability and the difficulties getting on the bus at Elephant and Castle in the evening rush hour. Val came to Peckham Rye to speak to residents in November last year, and this was one of the issues that came up. Val would like to know whether you see any improvements or not. Contact her on val@valshawcross or 020 7983 4401.

Peckham Rye joins Green Chain Walk - try it out THIS SUNDAY 31st

The Green Chain Walk, which started back in 1977, was set up to protect green spaces from development, and promote the enjoyment of the outdoors. Some locals will be aware that it’s now, pretty much, reached our bit of Southwark.

This Sunday 31st January, Walk London is offering a guided walk of the Southwark extension from Nunhead station to Crystal Palace, which will pass through Peckham Rye ward.

Leaving Nunhead station, the Green Chain will pass through Nunhead Cemetery and then to Camberwell New Cemetery. It will then head up the steep path to the top of One Tree Hill.

The Oak of Honour
This Sunday they’ll then be a chance to meet with resident, Ian White, at the pioneering self-build housing in Walter's Way for a talk. Then on to the Horniman for lunch.

The walk continues on to Sydenham Hill Woods Nature Reserve, past the modernist 'Six Pillars' and the 'Dulwich Wood House' into the former Upper Sydenham railway station, then a look at the Paxton Tunnel, a climb u…

Lib Dems politicise school admissions committee

We’ve just been given some really shocking news about the school admissions forum – the body which oversees almost all aspects of Southwark’s school admissions.

Many readers will already know about the chaotic allocation of primary school places in East Dulwich and Nunhead for 2009-10, when the council hugely underestimated the demand for places in local schools and failed to provide enough staff to administer the process adequately. Having a cross party appraoch on the admissions forum was essential to ensuring that officers were challenged to improve the process this year.

With the apparent support of Peckham Rye Lib Dems, Southwark’s Lib Dem/Tory coalition, have thrown the Labour representative off the committee, without any explanation. Southwark Labour’s Education spokesperson Cllr Veronica Ward had been a member of the School Admissions Forum for almost four years, before being chucked off at a meeting of Lib Dems and Tories on Monday night. She had attended the forum far more r…

Peckham Rye Common Toilets and a new Community Council Group

This evening, Victoria went along to the sub-group set up at the last Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council. This group was initially set-up to discuss how the closed public toilets on Peckham Rye Common might be put to a more appropriate use than that originally suggested by the council. Between the decision to set up the group and tonight's first meeting, things have changed significantly

To cut a long story short, the council's preferred commercial tenant pulled out and a much more attractive bidder (in local community terms) in the shape of "Peckham Rye Projects" moved to the front of the queue of potential tenants. Peckham Rye Projects are a not-for-profit gallery offering outreach programmes to local schools and groups. Their intention is to restore the building, maintain the gardens and to open the gallery toilets to the public.

It was confirmed tonight that Peckham Rye Projects (PRP) have now signed the lease on the building. However, this does not quite me…

Food waste collection, thrifty shopping and 10:10

Southwark Labour are committed to improving recycling rates should we win control of the council in May. Recycling has suffered years of neglect under the Lib Dems and Tories culminating in Southwark being rated the 6th worst council in the country for recycling. 2010 is the year for change!

One of the things that Labour could do to boost recycling would be to collect food waste. Food waste accounts for about 40% of household waste and, at the moment, unless you compost at home, it’s just ending up in landfill where it will give off methane as it rots. Sadly the Lib Dems and Tories have ruled out even considering the introduction of food waste collection until at least 2014.

Southwark Labour’s plans are backed up by plans announced this week by Hilary Benn MP, Labour’s Environment Secretary. He revealed that a Labour Government would introduce a ban on food waste ending up in landfill – great news. Councils will have to collect food waste and use it for composting or generating energy. …

Denial is not just a river in Egypt

One of the reasons Southwark’s Lib Dems and Tories are failing to improve services in our borough is because they seem to have fostered a town hall culture which refuses to acknowledge poor performance. Both politicians and senior managers often appear incapable of admitting that some services are in urgent need of improvement.

When an independent inspectorate recently published a report on council services, Southwark’s reaction said more about them than they might have wished. The Oneplace report on Southwark was not exactly complementary. It ranked the council as the third worst in London and stated:

“. . . performance in adult social care and housing is not strong. The Council did not meet its decent homes target and has not identified all the resources to allow it to do so over the next two years. It is behind the pace on modernising its adult social care services to give people more choice over the services they receive.”

This is pretty damning stuff, but, in fairness, Southwark was…

East London Line nears completion...

Could Honor Oak Park become a travel gateway for residents, should the 63 bus route be extended?
The East London line extension is one step closer to opening after the line’s construction site was handed over to Transport for London yesterday.

I'm an occassional user of both Brockley and Honor Oak Park stations so have been following the East London Line extension plans with interest. Who knows, if the 63 bus route is extended to Honor Oak Park station, maybe Peckham Rye residents will become regular users of the new line...

TfL are currently hoping that a limited four trains per hour service will begin from New Cross and New Cross Gate to Dalston Junction from 4 April. A full service would then begin along the whole line from 23 May.

The next few months will see TfL trainning staff, installing ticket machines in stations and running final tests on the line and trains as well as conducting emergency drills. Any problems could push the launch dates back.

A spokesman from TfL said, “We …

**Meeting TONIGHT** Peckham Rye 'central area' options

There will be a consultation meeting, on the Peckham Rye 'central area' development, TONIGHT 19th Jan, from 6:30pm-8:30pm in the Park Cafe

This will be a drop in event where you can come in any time (between those times) and talk to the architects and the council about the options for both the cafe area of the Common and Homestall Road.

Information about the two options for the location of the one o'clock club, changing facilities and play area, plus the re-jigging of the car park, roads and footpaths can be found here.

Out in Peckham Rye with Harriet Harman MP

As some readers will know, Peckham Rye ward currently has two MPs. Harriet Harman, MP for Camberwell and Peckham, currently represents about 40% of the ward on the Nunhead side. Tessa Jowell, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, represents about 60% of the ward covering Honor Oak and East Dulwich.

Boundary changes mean that all of Peckham Rye ward will fall into the Camberwell and Peckham constituency from the next General Election onwards.

Yesterday, people living on Forest Hill Road and Mamora Road had a good chance to size up their potential new MP - Harriet - and the residents we spoke to all seemed really pleased to meet her and to tell her what matters to them and their neighbours.

Free films in Nunhead

This is notice of films being screened, free of charge on a big screen, locally:
WHEN: Every Friday lunchtime in February at 1.30pm.
WHERE: Buchan Road Tenants and Residents Association Hall, Buchan Road SE15 (near Smiths the butcher).
WHAT: Casablanca (1943) Friday 5 February
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) Friday 12 February
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) Friday 19 February
Old London on Film (1896-1953) Friday 26 February

Watch a great film on a big screen and have a chat with your neighbours before and after. Enjoy free tea, coffee and biscuits. There's no need to book and everyone is welcome. Call 020 8480 1921 if you have queries.

With thanks to the Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council for funding this and thanks to Nunhead Forum and Nunhead Rocks! for bringing this to our attention.

Why on earth are the Lib Dems paying council chiefs bonuses if Southwark is failing?!

Last night I went along to a council Overview and Scrutiny meeting to see the Lib Dem Executive Member for Resources, Cllr Tim McNally, being quizzed about council finances.

One of the issues that was discussed was the payment of bonuses to approximately 40 of the most senior staff at Southwark. As Cllr McNally explained, there are two ways to pay people, either by a fixed salary or you can incentivise pay and make it performance related. Fair enough you might think. However it seems that the Lib Dems and Tories running Southwark have devised a third way to pay staff - paying a 10% or even 15% bonus to the highest paid staff that bares no resemblance to council performance given that, just a few weeks ago, Southwark was officially rated the worst council in inner London!

We are in difficult economic times and you and I are counting our pennies. In the coming weeks it's increasingly likely that a whole host of council schemes will be cut as the capital programme spending is reviewed,…

Recycling in Southwark: A summary

Speaking to people when we're out and about in Peckham Rye, there does seem to be some confusion about how well Southwark is performing on recycling. Tory and Lib Dem canvassers seem eager to muddy the waters on this important issue. What follows is a quick summary of the facts and our own position on recycling.

In November 2009, the latest official league tables for recycling rates in England were published. Incredibly, the figures reveal that Southwark council has become the 6th worst council in the country for recycling. Southwark recycles less than 21% of household waste and the Lib Dems and Tories couldn't even manage a 1% increase in the recycling rate over last year.

When they took charge of Southwark in 2002, the Lib Dems and Tories 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 dramatically moved backwards. Recycling rates in neighbouring Labour Lam…

Your local Labour team will work 365 days of the year!

Thanks to the weather we had a challenging day talking to local residents but it proved well worth it. We hope we have persuaded you that we'll be working for you every day of the year!

Lots of issues came up including recycling, schools, road and pavement resurfacing and, of course, why streets haven't been gritted. A lot of people clearly feel let down by the Lib Dem/Tory council and basic expectations simply aren't being met. If Southwark is spending money it certainly doesn't seem to be here in Peckham Rye.

As local candidates, committed to working tirelessly for the area we live in, we hope that our dedication today helps persuade you that we'll do all we can to make Peckham Rye a better place to live.

Gavin explains to a local resident that Southwark council has let us down on recycling...

More on the 63 bus extension...

Just a very quick update to tell you about Val Shawcross' (our Labour London Assembly Member) question to the Mayor of London about the extension of the 63 bus route that we're campaigning for. Val asked what the prospects were of getting an extension but was given this dissapointing response.

Nevertheless, residents of Peckham Rye shouldn't give up hope of us eventually getting a result on this. It may take some time, but I'm sure we can get there in the end. I recently wrote to Southwark News to promote the campaign and we've got further activities planned for the future. Watch this place for more on the 63.

P.S. If you find the link to Val Shawcross' question isn't working, this is because of a temporary problem with the GLA website. You might need to keep refreshing the link before you can see it.

Where we stand on primary school places in East Dulwich and Nunhead

Many readers will already know about the chaotic allocation of primary school places in East Dulwich and Nunhead for 2009-10. The council hugely underestimated the demand for places in local schools and failed to provide enough staff to administer the process adequately. As a result, many children were allocated to schools far away from where they lived and many parents were left in the dark about the status of their applications.

Following pressure from local parents, Labour councillors and MPs, the council has promised to provide extra classes in local schools for 2010-11 and to employ more staff to improve the administration of the applications process and communication with local parents. In recent weeks, after a successful campaign by our local MPs, Tessa Jowell and Harriet Harman, highlighting the acute shortage of primary school places in our area, the Government has reacted by allocating an additional £12million to Southwark council to address this problem. This is a serious am…

Extending 63 bus to Honor Oak Park & traffic management on Forest Hill Rd

Like other daily users of bus services in Peckham Rye we want a local transport system that meets the needs of local people. One improvement that we’ve been campaigning for is the extension on the 63 bus to Honor Oak Station. We’ve asked residents about this on the doorstep, through a bus survey and we were also delighted when Val Shawcross, the local Labour London Assembly Member spent time in Peckham Rye talking to residents about local bus services.

Val has now submitted a suggestion for the extension of the number 63 bus route to Network Planners at TfL buses. This will now be considered when they look at reconfiguring bus services around the new East London Line train services – this may allow for some local changes/improvements despite previous responses that the extension was not possible on cost grounds.

During our conversations with local residents we’ve heard a great deal of concern expressed about whether extending the 63 service to Honor Oak Park might reduce its frequency…

Monthly bus pass up 20%... Happy New Year from Boris!

I renewed my monthly bus pass today and duly received my Happy New Year gift from Boris Johnson - a massive 20% hike in the monthly price from £53 to £63.80.

Despite blogging about these increases I was still taken aback at what this would mean on a monthly basis. On top of the 11% increase last January, and Boris' promise that there will be more inflation busting increases to come, bus passengers have been hit pretty hard. Couple this with the threat to cut schedules and as buses get more expensive they'll get more overcrowded and less frequent too.

We lost lots of things when Ken Livingstone lost the mayoral election in 2008 - one of these things was a real champion for bus passengers... do you remember when a bus fare was just 90p?

Oyster Pay As You Go Introduced

Just a very quick reminder that today sees the introduction of Oyster Pay As You Go on Southern and South Eastern trains.After a very, very long wait, this means that people travelling from Nunhead, Peckham Rye, East Dulwich, Honor Oak and Brockley can now travel using this form of payment.

Frustratingly, some stations don’t yet allow you to update your card at the station, meaning you might need to go to a local newsagents instead.Also, some of the changes to ticket prices don’t see that fair.You can see more info from the train companies here and here.
It may have taken years to reach this point with the train companies, but its better late than never.