26 November 2010

'Peckham's Future' - Meetings on Sat 27 Nov & Tues 30 Nov

Despite the tough economic outlook Southwark is facing, the Council and local Councillors remain committed to bringing regeneration to Peckham - a key Labour promise made during the local elections earlier this year.

The next stage of our planning is beginning and in preparation for a 'formal' consultation in February there are two meetings in the next few days to allow residents the chance to give some early feedback.

The first is taking place TOMORROW, Saturday 27 November, 12.30pm to 3.30pm, at the Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane.

The second will also be at the Bussey Building on Tuesday 30 November 2010, 6.00pm to 9.00pm.

There will be displays and information on the emerging 'preferred options' for the Peckham and Nunhead area action plan. Come along and have your say on how we can ensure the future commercial success of Peckham town centre, restore our historic buildings and even how we might redesign the street scene.

22 November 2010

Aylesbury Estate Shock


We don't often stray far beyond our Ward boundaries on the Peckham Rye Labour Blog, but today we've had some shocking news about the regeneration of the Aylesbury Estate (east of Walworth Road, and north of Burgess Park) which I thought might interest our readers, wherever in Southwark you live.

For more than a decade, the powers that be at Southwark Council (of all political persuasions) have been seeking funding from government to regenerate this huge estate populated by 7,500 people. Tony Blair famously made his first speech as Prime Minister on the Estate. Everyone would admit that there have been far too many broken promises and false dawns for the people living on the Aylesbury.

In 2005, work finally began on "phase 1a" of a project that, it was hoped, would lead to the demolition and replacement of the poorly designed 1960's blocks. The Aylesbury regeneration is a huge and complex programme which relies on a number of different funding streams to push it forward. A Private Finance Initiative (PFI) was set to deliver 360 homes and then provide the catalyst for a further 583 homes to be built. Eventually the entire programme would have delivered 4,200 homes.

Today, the £180m PFI funding promised for the Aylesbury has been withdrawn by the government. (In total the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has withdrawn £1.9bn of funding across 13 planned Private Finance Initiative housing projects).

Cllr Fiona Colley, Southwark's Cabinet Member for Regeneration today wrote to all Southwark Councillors setting out her, and Southwark Labour's determination to overcome this blow. She wrote:

"Despite this setback, we have to press ahead with our regeneration plans on behalf of residents, who will always be our main priority. We are seeking to arrange urgent meetings with the government and swiftly following up the HCA’s [Homes and Communities Agency's] offer to consider future options. Aside from this, we will continue to explore every option available to us and will in no way be defeated by this decision. We do not yet know what the overall impact of this decision will mean but Southwark Council is experienced in seeing large-scale regeneration projects come to fruition and we remain committed to Aylesbury’s successful regeneration."

18 November 2010

Do you have what it takes to be a Southwark Foster Carer?

One of my roles as a councillor is to sit on the Council's Fostering Panel which reviews our borough's foster carers. I find this an immensely rewarding role.

In Southwark we have up to 350 children placed with Southwark foster carers at any one time and the borough is always on the look out for those who might be interested in becoming carers. We need foster carers for both long and short term fostering and respite fostering. We are looking for people from all backgrounds so that we are able to place as many children as possible with families who live in and near to the borough.

The council considers every inquiry from a potential fosterer important so if you think you might have the skills to foster them you should seriously consider it. You can read more about how to become a foster carer here and answers to a whole host of questions you might have here.

Community Council - Wednesday 8 December

Just a quick post to get 8 December in your diaries as the next Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council meeting. This is your chance to meet local councillors and quiz them on any local issues you might have. There will also be updates from members of the council cabinet and our Police safer neighbourhood team.

The meeting starts at 7.00pm although if you come at 6.30pm you can speak to the Community Wardens beforehand. The December meeting is at Rye Oak Primary, use the Old James Street entrance just off Nunhead Lane.

16 November 2010

Crime and Community Safety in Peckham Rye


I'm grateful to a local resident I spoke to at a recent community council meeting for pointing me in the direction of these figures from the Metropolitan Police Website. It gives a very useful comparison of crime figures in Peckham Rye Ward with the rest of Southwark and the rest of London.

A very quick analysis shows that we are, on the whole, a pretty low crime area. I'm certain that part of the reason for this is our excellent local police team. Many local people are very concerned that cuts to public spending will include cutting Peckham Rye Safer Neighbourhood Team, along with their crime prevention work. This is certainly an issue for us to keep a very close eye on.

If you'd like to know more about community safety in Peckham Rye, a good place to start is the Ward Panel meeting. The next one will be held at 7pm on 25th November at Harris Girls Academy.

14 November 2010

Another Bog Standard Update

Many local residents may well be wondering what is happening with the previously proposed development of the toilet block near the junction of Peckham Rye and East Dulwich Road. Before Renata, Victoria and I were even elected as councillors, this had become quite a lively issue. I recently asked officers at the council what is going on, because nothing appeared to be happening with the block.

Well, since the last update, this is what has happened:

1. The last proposed tenant - a not-for-profit gallery offering outreach programmes to local schools and groups - dropped out of the process without having made the required planning application.

2. The property is now under offer to a new proposed tenant. They run a children's nursery and wish to expand.

3. They have already made a planning application for a change of use.

4. We are currently waiting for a formal decision from development control so that the lease can proceed.

I'll update again here as soon as I have further news.

Speaking to local residents most people have told us that they support the building having a community use, being used by a local group or it being returned to use as a toilet - as long as it doesn't encroach on the green space around it.

11 November 2010

Ryedale and Cheltenham Road - smoother surfaces are on the way

At Monday night's Community Council meeting Coucillors had the opportunity to vote on how to allocate a pot of money for road resurfacing improvements in our area.

Residents of Cheltenham Road and Ryedale in Peckham Rye Ward will be pleased to hear that their roads were among the three we agreed to resurface. These two roads were highlighted in the condition survey as being in very poor condition. In particular, residents of Cheltenham Road have suffered more than most because of buses travelling too fast down their street, causing vibration in their homes. We hope that the resurfacing will go some way to addressing this problem. We also managed to secure money to replace some of lamps on St Aiden’s Road which are in poor condition.

Watch this space for more information on when that work will be carried out.

PS. If you're interested in attending the next Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council meeting, it will take place on Wednesday 8th December at 7.00 pm. Further details on the agenda and location will appear here shortly.

5 November 2010

South London Press Story on 63 Campaign

Just a quick note to point you in the direction of this Friday's edition of the South London Press. The SLP have reported on the growing popularity of the campaign to extend the 63 Bus Route to Honor Oak Park and on our recent joint letter to Boris Johnson.

You'll need to buy a copy to see the story straightaway as parts of the online edition of the SLP are restricted to subscribers. We're on page 24. Thanks to Val Shawcross (our London Assembly Member) for her continued support for the campaign and her quote in the story.

One particularly interesting section of the story is the quote given by TfL regarding the extension. It was more encouraging than the wording of a previous letter which had claimed that the extension would not be financially viable, speaking of "keeping services under review." Light at the end of the tunnel perhaps?