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Showing posts from February, 2010

Making lower Forest Hill Road cleaner, greener and a better local shopping street

Horrid isn't it!

That's what many residents on or near the lower part of Forest Hill Road kept saying to me as they pointed out how tatty and untidy the lower part of Forest Hill Road is. They also mentioned that, with a bit of effort, this could be a small but attractive shopping area. I'm a big fan of Si Mangia and the Herne Tavern and the Co-op is a much needed store too. It would not take much to make this well-used row of shops a great 'hub' for local residents.Based on these comments and the clear level of support from local residents to improve the area I submitted a 'Cleaner, Greener & Safer' bid to the council, back in January. In my bid I asked for the street to be tidied up, the old rusty bollards to be replaced, proper designated areas be created for bins, some planting and for the odd shed building by the bus stop to be repainted and repaired.

Lots of residents signed my petition as they were keen to support the proposals. Now I just need a …

A chance to tell the council what you think about Peckham Rye's parks and green spaces

With Peckham Rye Park and Common right at the heart of our area why not tell Southwark what's good and bad about Peckham Rye, how often you use it and what might improve it? You have until 30th April to fill in this online survey from the council.

Many of you will be aware of the plans for a new One O'clock Club and new changing rooms and pitches for local sports clubs. This survey is another good opportunity to tell the council to get on with this much needed work. Of course, the Rye isn't the only green space in our area, so if you're a fan of One Tree Hill or Brenchley Gardens or Nunhead Cemetery then this is also a chance for you to express your opinions. Southwark's website says that information collected from the survey will be used to inform future council decisions related to parks and open spaces.

For those of you in the East Dulwich part of the ward, you may also be interested in the Goose Green consultation that is currently taking place. This consultation…

Do you want free meals for primary school kids in Peckham Rye?

Tonight, Southwark Labour will propose an alternative budget to the one put forward by the Lib Dems and Tories. This will make it crystal clear what the differences are between your local party candidates. Southwark Labour's proposals would cut wasteful spending on consultants and introduce free school meals for all primary school children.

Our part of South London currently has the highest levels of childhood obesity in the country, along with high levels of child poverty and relatively low levels of school attainment. Your Peckham Rye Labour candidates believe that if we are to improve the life-chances of Southwark’s children and defuse the obesity time bomb we must take some bold decisions.

Giving every primary school child in our borough a free, healthy school meal at lunchtime would remove the stigma of free school meals for those 1,800 children who are currently entitled to them but don’t take them up. It would ease the burden on those families who live just above the current …

The Lib Dem-Tory poster campaign that achieves nothing but waste

I'm not, in principle, against councils spending money on posters and communications. Local authorities provide a whole host of services to residents and that sometimes requires them to venture into the world of advertising and marketing. It's tricky territory for them because they leave themselves open to the accusation of wasting money and/or spending public money on propaganda. But when it is done responsibly, there are occasions when getting the message across in this way is justified.

An example of the kind of campaign that I think is OK would be the "Well done to Southwark School children on their exam results" poster campaign that the council ran last year. Many of our local state schools suffer from an undeserved poor reputation, when in fact they are good schools filled with excellent teachers. The campaign gave a positive message to local kids about their achievments and told local parents that some local schools were doing well. Other examples of justifiabl…

Peckham Rye Labour pledge free school meals for all primary school children

If Labour is able to take control of Southwark council in May, all primary school children will receive free school meals. This important announcement means that young children in our borough will be given the boost of a healthy meal in the middle of the school day.

This is a superb, progressive policy that Victoria, Renata and I are very proud to be campaigning on. It will help poorer families living in our borough, by removing the stigma and social barriers which continue to be attached to recipients of free chool meals. Providing a healthy and nutritious midday meal will make a huge difference to those 1,800 pupils who are already entitled to free school meals but do not take advantage of that entitlement.

It will also save every family £7.00 per week, per primary school child. With a recent study by Leeds University showing that only 1% of packed lunches taken to school contain the nutritional content that a child needs, the importance of this policy to children should not be under-…

343 Consultation - more buses not popular with some of our Telegraph Hill neighbours...

We were recently delighted to learn that Mayor Boris Johnson had listened to our calls to improve the frequency of the 343 bus in the morning peak.

However, it seems that some of our neighbours in Telegraph Hill are less pleased with this outcome. Opinion in Brockley seems to roughly come down in favour of an improved service.

As an Ivydale Road resident without a car, I am massively dependent on the 343 to get around and I use it most mornings to get to work. However, as an Ivydale Road resident I also suffer the noise and vibrations that the double deckers cause.

On balance, given the huge overcrowding along the route, I think a double decker is the only practical option. Splitting the route in Peckham (presumably in the Rye Lane area), with just a single decker running on to New Cross Gate would mean the loss of a great 'through' bus service that many Peckham Rye ward residents rely on. It's also foolish to think that the overcrowding starts at Rye Lane - at rush hour the …

Southwark must make fire safety a priority in Rye Hill Park

Whilst out talking to residents of Rye Hill Park Estate last week, we came across several who were worried about the access to their communal balconies being blocked off by the council.

The residents we spoke to were concerned that this could prevent them from escaping if a fire broke out. A fire could block the escape route down the blocks' staircases, so the balconies would provide an alternative escape route. But locking the doors would means residents risk being trapped with the fire brigade unable to reach them.

Following the tragic fire in the Lakanal House, local residents living in Southwark council blocks want to feel safe in their homes. They want to know that every possible escape route is accessible and that the council is making fire safety a top priority.

After speaking to Rye Hill Park residents, it’s clear that they are very worried that some doors are being kept locked. This is a serious issue that needs to be resolved as soon as possible. We've asked local Lab…

Lib Dems claim they're not in charge in Peckham Rye

(A tweet from the Peckham Rye Lib Dems)
Peckham Rye Lib Dems are now claiming that Labour 'run' Peckham Rye (take a look above). When asked by a local resident "Am I right in thinking Lib Dems run Southwark but Labour run Peckham Rye?", a Peckham Rye Lib Dem candiate replied, "Yes you're right. For the next three months Lab run Peckham Rye. Then we take over..."

Given that, just like every other area in Southwark, Peckham Rye is run by the Lib Dem-Tory Executive it seems this is just the latest in a string of attempts to mislead people into thinking they've got nothing to do with Southwark's failures.

Of course, Peckham Rye does have three Labour councillors, who do a great job of representing our area and our concerns at the Town Hall. However this is very different from 'running' Peckham Rye. If only we could just opt out of the Lib Dem chaos!

In truth, the policy levers and almost all the money spent by the council are under the control o…

Green Chain Walk Update: New Gates for Camberwell Old Cemetery

A couple of weeks ago I joined a Walk London guided walk of the Green Chain Walk's new extension from Nunhead to Crystal Palace. You can read more here.

The walk was a great chance to try out the extension, which passes through Peckham Rye ward, before the official opening in April. The route will start in Nunhead Cemetery at the Linden Grove gates, go through the cemetery, down Inverton Road, Merttins Road and Brockley Way and then head through Camberwell New Cemetery and past the Honor Oak Crematorium. It will then head along the the south side of Brenchley Gardens for a quick pull up and over One Tree Hill before going down Forest Hill Road to Camberwell Old Cemetery.

The walk will leave Peckham Rye ward at the rear exit of Camberwell Old Cemetery, at the junction of Wood Wale and Langton Rise. The route then heads towards Horniman Gardens from where it continues south, eventually joining the existing Green Chain at Crystal Palace.

I was delighted to find out that, with the walk u…

A new community centre for Nunhead

Blog readers and Nunhead-siders will know that back in November, at a meeting of the Nunhead Community Forum, Nunhead was promised money for a new community centre. As a member of the Forum's executive committee, Renata has been involved in the campaign to get the old centre reopened and, more recently, to secure a new centre (following a Forum decision that this had become the best option to pursue).

At the Council's annual budget meeting this week, there was, at last, a promise of £600k to build a new centre next to the Old Nun's Head Pub (on the soon to be vacated Early Years Centre site). The new centre will in fact be self funding as the old community centre site will be sold off to developers and the new centre will only take up a portion of the Early Years site, again the rest will be sold off by the council.

This is a compromise but with limited money available it seems that this is the best offer that the council is prepared to make. Speaking at the Peckham Rye and …

Private Eye cover "bonus culture" at Southwark

Taken from the Rotten Boroughs section of the most recent edition of Private Eye.

The "secret" sell-off of Peckham Rye's community buildings

I've just arrived back from the latest Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community council meeting. It was, once again, a lively meeting in which a number of important local issues were discussed. However, there was one piece of news which will give rise to significant concern among local residents.

The meeting was addressed by Cllr Tim McNally, the Lib Dem Executive Councillor for Resources, on the council's policy on community buildings. A very revealing moment came when Cllr Gordon Nardell asked Cllr McNally if a group of local residents concerned about local community buildings (which he chairs) could have some information. Cllr Nardell asked for a list of non-housing properties in the area which the council is considering disposing of.

That was all he wanted. A list of local, publicly owned properties which the council is thinking of selling or renting out. As the representative of a party which claims to support openess and accountability, you'd think Cllr McNally would have agr…

East Dulwich Lib Dem Councillor backs undeserved bonuses

Regular readers will be aware that Southwark Lib Dems are proposing to pay massive bonuses to the most senior council officers despite Southwark recently being rated the worst council in inner London. The Lib Dems seem happy to reward failure and are not holding senior officers to account. To put things in context, 17 council officers in Southwark are already earning more than £100,000 per year.

When local residents complained that it was wrong for the Lib Dems to pay lump sums to council bosses when services were failing, the response from our local Lib Dems was, apparently, ‘so what?’!!

Posting online, East Dulwich Lib Dem Councillor James Barber, refused to accept that those of us watching our pennies and keen to know that our council tax is being well spent, might be annoyed about this. He defended the policy by simply saying:-

“As for bonuses, so very senior managers have performance management pay, and some have delivered larger back office savings than expected.”

So that’s fine the…

Community Council on Monday 8th February

Just a quick post to remind those who are interested that the next Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council meeting will be take place on Monday 8th February, starting at 7pm. The meeting agenda includes a discussion of accomodation for local community and voluntary groups and an update from our local police team.

The meeting will take place at Rye Oak Primary School and Children’s Centre on Whorlton Road. The community council is a great place to find out what is going on in your local area and a good forum to make your voice heard.

If you're the type who's prepared to wade through the agenda and papers (it's an acquired taste!) You can find them here.

Meals on wheels sums it all up...

If you’re looking for a policy which sums up the way Southwark Council has been run since 2002, you could hardly do better than the Lib Dem/Tory policy towards the meals on wheels service. This is a service which delivers meals to vulnerable and elderly people in their homes.

In 2008 they decided to increase the cost of a single meal from the council’s meals on wheels service from £2.20 to £3.20. For people already struggling to make ends meet this was a really significant increase. For some it stretched their finances to breaking point. Shocking stuff for anyone who still thought that Liberal Democrats were supposed to be a nice bunch of well-meaning, community minded activists. By anyone’s standard this was mean-hearted stuff, particularly given that the measure was projected to raise just £150,000. A significant amount of money, but not a king’s ransom in terms of local authority spending when we’re talking about an important and popular service. Surely, the savings could have been …