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Showing posts from 2012

The Ivy House Pub: Officially a Community Asset

I know I'm a bit late posting on this, but just wanted to mark the important news about the Ivy House Pub.

Many congratulations to all the campaigners who succesfully fought to get the Pub (on Stuart Road) to be officially listed as a community asset.  Buildings listed as community assets can't be sold without first giving community groups the right to bid for them. Southwark's Labour council is the first council to list such an asset.

I also know that that Cllr Claire Hickson (Cabinet Member for Communities and Economic Development) has been working on this with local a big thanks to her too.

There is still a huge amount that needs to be done before the Pub's future is secured.  But this is a very positive step.

For those that want more detail, beneath is the text from the press release put out by the council...
The Ivy House pub in Nunhead, a classic 1930s, wood-panelled building, recently listed by English Heritage may…

New Peckham Rye One O'Clock Club Update

People with an interest in the development of a new One O'Clock Club on Peckham Rye Common (as a replacement for the current hut) maybe interested in the extract below from the minutes of our last full Council Assmbley meeting.  I asked our Labour Leader of the council for an update on delivering the new Club.

Could the leader give an update on the work to deliver on Southwark Labour's administration commitment to turn plans for a new One O'Clock Club on Peckham Rye into a reality?

A project team has been established to take forward the redevelopment of Peckham Rye One O'Clock Club, with a project manager allocated by the property team and representatives from children's services. An initial assessment has been carried out of options for the location of the proposed new building, with a further site visit for the project team scheduled for October 2012. The project is estimated to be completed by…

A letter to Peckham Rye residents about East Dulwich Police Station

Domestic violence in Southwark

I've blogged before about the work I do as Chair of one of Southwark's Scrutiny Sub-Committees.  In the past we've produced recommend-ations for changes relating to housing repairs, leaseholder charging and the large scale security works on the Four Squares Estate.  Local government scrutiny is not, I admit, a process which prompts great excitement in most people, but I think my committee has done a solid job of focussing in on people's concerns and finding real solutions.  This has been helped by the fact that Southwark's Labour Cabinet has been prepared to engage with the scrutiny process and actually implement new policies where we could show that they were needed.

We've recently completed another report on the important issue of domestic violence and abuse.  This is a difficult issue to investigate, not least because the often hidden nature of this crime.  However, the sub-committee has now produced a report which we hope will improve how the council resp…

Peckham Rye Fête 2012

Just a quick reminder that tomorrow (Saturday 1st September) it's time once again for the brilliant Peckham Rye Fête. More details are here.

The fête is organised by volunteers from the Friends of Peckham Rye Park and is always a roaring success.  Come along and enjoy the wide variety of fun stalls and activities on offer.

Labour: cutting waste at Southwark Council and protecting services

One of the key commitments we gave before the May 2010 election was that Labour would cut waste at Southwark Council. Between 2002 and 2010, under the Liberal Democrats, the council had very weak political leadership which lead to large amounts of wasteful spending on things like consultants and high senior officer pay.

Since Labour councillors have taken control there has been a new culture introduced at the council which prioritises front-line services and cuts wasteful spending. The report card below gives a summary of the reduction in waste that we have achieved so far...and we are determined to maintain these high standards.

Are local Lib Dems planning to slap £50 on your Council Tax bill?

Times are tough at the moment and lots of people are feeling the pinch. With this in mind, Labour Councillors in Southwark are focusing on making changes which will help people out. To give just two examples, we've introduced free, healthy school meals in all primary schools and just announced plans to build 1000 new homes to help deal with the desperate shortage of housing in the borough. We've managed to do this whilst the government is cutting 1/3 of of the funding your council gets from the government (whilst wealthier council's like Richmond have been protected). Importantly, Labour has also prioritised keeping Council Tax down. We know that when people are struggling, the last thing they need is a hike in their council tax. But for some unknown reason, during these tough times, local Liberal Democrat councillors have decided to prioritise introducing more council meetings, paid for by an increase in Council Tax. They are campaigning for new Parish Councils …

Better facilities for Athenlay FC kids team

There was a really constructive meeting tonight regarding works to improve facilities on Homestall Road Sports Field  (where kids teams for Athenlay FC play).  There were 60-70 people present to hear the lead council officer on the project give a presentation on what is planned.  The first stage involves the relaying of the grass pitches to improve them and important drainage works. Future works could include the creation of a flood-lit astro-turf pitch and changing rooms for the teams.

Thus far only the first stage has been fully funded and will definitely go ahead.  This is the result of the Labour Council's decision to support youth sport in the borough via the Olympic Legacy Fund.  Future works will depend on successful grant funding bids.

Volunteers who run Athenlay FC do a huge amount of work to run a club which provides lots of local kids the opportunity to get involved in healthy sporting activity.  The development of the pitches and changing rooms is intended to improve…

Southwark Labour to deliver on key changes for leaseholders

Southwark’s Labour-run Council has agreed to adopt all the proposals of an independent Housing Scrutiny Committee report into leaseholder charging.
Among the key recommendations are to provide leaseholders with an individual online account so that they know exactly how much money they will have to spend at the end of the year.They also include a new two-tier system of charges to cater for requests to make minor changes to properties; at present leaseholders are charged a flat rate of £203 simply for enquiring about making a change to their property.
The Cabinet action plan agrees to allow leaseholders to know who signed off works which leaseholders are expected to pay for, increasing transparency and accountability.  
The Council has also agreed to investigate offering leaseholders the option of a fixed service charge which incorporates both the annual services charge and major works service charges. This will help leaseholders plan for the future and avoid a situation where a leasehol…

Peckham Rye Police Ward Panel Meeting

Last night I went to our Ward Panel Meeting with our local police team. These are meetings which allow residents of Peckham Rye to raise concerns and issues with local police teams and to influence their priorities. Last night’s meeting took place in a meeting room at Honor oak Baptist Church on the corner of Forest Hill Road and Therapia Road.

Last night’s meeting was particularly timely for me because I’d just been contacted by a local resident who was concerned about several muggings which had taken place between the south part of Nunhead and the route to Brockley train station. The area in question is outside the patch covered by our police team, but they did undertake to speak to their colleagues in the neighbouring ward, check the stats to see if there was a problem and said action would be taken to increase patrols if necessary.

I always find these meetings to be very congenial and constructive. Other items which were discussed included a person pestering people around a loc…

How Peckham Rye Voted

Last week people across London voted for who they wanted to be their Mayor and representatives on the London Assembly. Obviously we're disappointed that Ken Livingstone couldn't quite pip Boris Johnson to be Mayor of London, but we're very pleased that Val Shawcross was re-elected as our Assembly Member. Val is an excellent and hard-working representative for our area and I'm sure she'll continue to campaign for us on issues like extending the 63 bus route to Honor Oak Park station.

One of the helpful things about the publication of the London election results is that you can get the ward breakdowns of how areas voted from the London Elects website. The results from Peckham Rye are fascinating (particularly if you're a bit of a geek and happen to be a Councillor). Each voter had the opportunity to vote on three ballot papers (one for Mayor on which you could put first and second preferences, one for the top up 'list' members of the GLA and one for your…

Ivy House Listing

Renata Hamvas (fellow Labour Councillor for Peckham Rye) has just called with some news. She's just posted this on local forums:

 "Thank you for the many many emails I've received about the Ivyhouse, you have been keeping me very busy over the last couple of days! Just to update on the situation: I have been liasing with English Heritage over the Ivyhouse and as of today, The Ivyhouse is a Grade II Listed building. The owners have been notified in writing of the change in status of the building.


Another Ivy House Update

Just a quick update. I've written to Harriet Harman (our local MP) to ask her to write to English Heritage and the Department of Culture Media and Sport regarding the Spot Listing of the property.

Renata has been in direct contact with English Heritage about the listed building application. It seems likely that the listed status application could come through relatively quickly. We'll update again when we have more news.

The Ivyhouse - UPDATE

We've had a flurry of emails and tweets today about the Ivyhouse Pub on Stuart Road closing this weekend. It seems that the current owners Enterprise Inns have sold the pub on to new owners and there are plenty of rumours that the building may be turned into flats rather than remaining as a pub.

As a private building, unfortunately we can't stop the current owners selling the building on to others who may have other plans for its use. However, the new owners would need apply for planning permission for change of use and likely for other alternations they might wish to make if they do plan to turn it into a residential property. As far as I can tell no planning application has been lodged and so no application has been granted. The planning process will allow for local residents to voice their concerns and to object to the application and in all likelihood the decision would then come to local councillors - but we do need to wait until we actually see what the new owners have pl…

Community Wildlife Garden opens in Peckham Rye Park

Vikki and Gavin with fellow councillor Barrie Hargrove, Cabinet Member for Transport, Environment & Recycling
Today saw the opening of the Community Wildlife Garden in Peckham Rye Park - well done to the Friends of Peckham Rye Park for making this happen!

The 'old depot' site near to the Park toilets has long been out of use and out of access. In fact many locals will have walked passed and not known this little pocket of land within the Park existed as it is surrounded by mature trees. The site originally contained greenhouses for the Park that were dismantled in the 70s and it was then used as a depot until the late 80s.

Since 2005 the Friends have been working hard to bring the site back into use as a wildlife garden. With the help of Southwark Council Cleaner, Greener, Safer funding and then a Big Lottery Fund grant that we were delighted to support, the last two years have seen the site transformed. I visited the site just after we were elected councillors and going back…

Peckham Rye Labour Councillor: Standing Up for the NHS

Vikki spoke at the TUC "Save Our NHS" Rally a couple of weeks ago and brought the house down.  Sadly, since then, the Health and Social Care Bill has passed through parliament with the support of Southwark Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes.

Southwark Labour Leader's last-ditch effort to persuade Simon Hughes to drop support for NHS changes

Southwark Labour Leader, Peter John has written again to Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes demanding that he oppose the discredited Health and Social Care Bill.  The text of his letter, written today, is below.

Dear Simon,

I am writing regarding the letter I sent to you on the 13th February concerning your support for the Government's Health and Social Care Bill, to which I am yet to receive a reply. I note that following my letter you changed your position on the publication of the risk register which outlines the potential damage this Bill will have and which an information rights tribunal has ruled should be published.

Unfortunately, despite your apparent support for its publication, today in the House of Commons you failed to support a motion for the risk register to be debated. I do not understand why you would not want a debate to be held on something you have said yourself should be made public. All I know is that, despite you sittin…

Leaseholder Report Update

I recently posted on the outcome of an investigation into leaseholder charging in Southwark.  The scrutiny committee which I chair has been investigating possible improvements to the rules and systems used by the council to charge its leaseholders for major works and services.  For some time there has been a feeling among the 13,500 leaseholders in the borough that more could be done to provide them with information and to ensure they were getting value for money.  Recommendations included new individual online accounts for leaseholders to check what they are being charged for and a new option for leaseholders to pay a fixed service charge (as opposed to a variable service charge).  You can see the full report here.

Last night this report went before Southwark's full Overview and Scrutiny Committee  to decide whether or not the recommendations should go forward to Southwark's Cabinet.  I'm really pleased that the cross party committee unanimously agreed to let the report …

Major breakthrough in campaign to extend 63 Bus route to Honor Oak Park Station

As many residents of Peckham Rye will know, Peckham Rye Labour councillors have been running a long-term campaign to get the 63 Bus route extended to Honor Oak Park Station. You'll find some background on our campaign here, here and here.

We are now very pleased to announce that Val Shawcross, our brilliant GLA member and Ken Livingstone's Deputy Mayoral Candidate, has announced that if Ken is elected as Mayor in May 2012, she will use her position as Chair of Transport for London to extend the 63 bus route. The text of Val's letter to Peckham Rye residents is below this post. If you live near the 63 route you should get a copy through your letter box either today or tomorrow.

This is a really important issue for many people living in East Dulwich and Peckham Rye. Boris has been using dodgy bus usage figures to justify blocking the extension. If Val is given the chance to fulfill her promise it will mean thousands of people in our area will find it easier to link up with…

Leaseholder charging in Southwark - draft report published

Some months ago I posted on the leaseholder charging scrutiny which would be carried out by the Housing Scrutiny Committee.  Since then lots of hard work has gone into unpicking all of the issues surrounding leaseholder charges and we've just published the draft report.   You can see it here.

The report will be discussed by the sub-committee at next Monday's meeting and so there will be changes and additions following that discussion.  However, the central arguments and recommendations of the report are in place and will be of interest to leaseholders in Southwark who want to see a Labour council responding to their concerns.

Our aim from the outset has been make recommendations which would improve the process of leaseholder charging for the benefit of all residents of the borough. We've had excellent co-operation and engagement from council officers, the cabinet member and leaseholder representatives.

There are a number of recommendations, below are just some which are…

Democracy in Southwark: If you're going to talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk

Turning up to meetings is just one part of a councillor’s job, but it’s an important part.  Scrutiny, Community Council and other meetings are a crucial opportunity to stand up for residents’ interests and hold the council to account.  It’s something that you know will take up lots of your time, but you’re fully aware of that before you make the decision to stand for election.  Thisthis and this show just a few examples of times when Vikki, Renata and I have been able to secure improvements for the Peckham Rye area by going along to these meetings.  I’m not saying they’re always riveting, but I am saying it’s important to turn up as often as possible.   Since the last election residents of Southwark have been able to monitor the attendance of their councillors via the Southwark Councilwebsite.  Now, I wouldn’t have mentioned this if Southwark’s Lib Dem Councillors hadn’t been going around in recent months, telling anyone that would listen, just how concerned they were about democrati…

Cheltenham and Ivydale Road Road works - What is going on?

Local residents will know that resurfacing and reconstruction works have been going on over a number of week on a section of Ivydale Road (west of Merttins Road) and Cheltenham Road. The works will improve residential roads which have become very bumpy, largely as a result of 343 and 484 buses travelling on these roads.  This has become a particular problem in recent years because the combination of heavy buses and deteriorating roads has lead to serious shaking of people homes.

Through a combination of Councillors' and local residents' campaigning in 2011 we were able to secure the funding for the works.  Prior to works starting there was a joint meeting between local residents, councillors and council officers out on the street.  At that meeting we were told by officers that the works would include full-depth reconstruction of the entire length of Cheltenham Road and the relevant section of Ivydale Road.

Since works have begun it's become clear that full-depth reconst…

Know Your Ryes!

A few weeks ago I was in a meeting with some local residents and council officers. During the meeting one person started referring to Rye Lane, when in fact they meant Peckham Rye East. Later on another started talking about Peckham Rye Common and it took us a little while to work out that they really meant Peckham Rye Park.  
You can't really blame people for getting a little confused. There are so many references to "Rye" in our little bit of South London that even the locals can get mixed up. So I thought I'd have a go at writing a little glossary of all the Ryes hereabout.  Clearly I'm making a rod for my own back here, so please point out any errors I've made in the comments box below. 
Anyway, here are my definitions of the ubiquitous Ryes. Some serious, some not so serious, and in no particular order:
Peckham Rye Ward - The council ward area. Peckham Rye Ward was created out of Rye Ward, Waverley Ward and Bellenden Ward following the Local Authority Bo…

Homestall Road Sports Ground

Residents of Homestall, Mundania and Colyton Road will be aware that there are some proposals to develop parts of the Homestall Road Sports Ground. The sports ground is the home of teams representing Athenlay Football Club.

Some residents are delighted that sports facilities are going to be improved for local young people, but for some this is tempered by an understandable concern that development will lead to over-intensive use of the site which will cause disturbance to their home life.

The problems which Southwark Council has been seeking to solve, in partnership with the club and local people, are:

- The general poor condition of the sports ground
- In particular the poor drainage and quality of the pitches
- The lack of decent changing provision on site.

I think it would be fair to say that early on in this project, the council’s communications with local residents were not good. A proposal (now abandoned) was developed with the local Harris Academy. These proposals were not …