30 March 2010

Our local pledges to you

Regular readers will know that Southwark Labour candidates have already made some significant pledges on issues like free school meals for primary school kids and on sorting out the mess which has been created in the housing repairs service.

However, with the 6th May local elections approaching fast we thought we would make it clear where we stand on local issues. We don't make these pledges lightly. There is a huge amount of work to be done in putting right the damage that has been done to Peckham Rye since the Lib Dems and Tories were elected in 2002. Like other people living in this area we are determined to put things right.

So without further ado, these are our pledges to you:-

1. We will guarantee a place in a local primary school for all local children.
Local parents and children have been put through a hugely stressful time because the Lib Dems and Tories have failed to plan primary school places properly. Labour will fix the school admissions system in Southwark so this never happens again. We will spend the £12 million the Government has given Southwark to sort this out, but which the Lib Dems and Tories have inexplicably left in a bank account.

2. We will deliver the new children's and sports facilities on Peckham Rye Park and Common
The Lib Dems and Tories have dragged their feet on this project and refused to give this it any funding in this year's budget. Labour will deliver where they have failed.

3. We will fight to extend the 63 bus to Honor Oak Park Station.
Renata, Victoria and I will continue Labour fight to get Boris Johnson to extend the 63 bus, and link up Peckham Rye with the overland trains and new East London Line extension from Honor Oak Peckham. Unlike the other parties, we want to ensure that this is done alongside new crossing points around local schools.

4. Labour will double the recycling rate in Southwark
Like other residents of Peckham Rye, we are deeply concerned that Southwark is the 6th worst recycler in the country. Where the Lib Dems and Tories have failed on recycling, we will make it a priority by expanding the range of items that can be recycled and doubling the recycling rate overall.

5. We will keep council tax at or below the rate of inflation
We know that many local residents are watching every penny during these tough economic times. A Labour council will keep council tax down to help everyone in Peckham Rye. As a result of Lib Dem-Tory incompetence Southwark has one of the worst council tax collection rates in the country. By increasing the collection rate, Labour will keep your council tax down.

29 March 2010

Ivydale Road - works restart & bus diversions

Work to install traffic calming on the final section of Ivydale Road, between the junctions with Athenlay Road and Cheltenham Road, begins today. Residents should have received a letter on Friday - not quite the promised 'seven days in advance' but at least some notification was given by the council. (Others may have noticed that the letter was optimistically dated the 22 March...)

Looking at the original plans there are three sets of pinch points going in ('D'). Set one is near the junction with Athenlay Road, set two between Homeleigh Road and Fernholme Road and the third set is between Rosenthorpe Road and Hawkslade Road.In addition, the junction of Ivydale Road and Merttins Road is going to be raised ('F') and junctions of Hawkslade Road and Kelvington Road are going to be narrowed, with a bigger traffic island on Kelvington and the installation of a new island on Hawkslade ('G') If you click on the picture below you'll get a bigger version.
The works will also include the removal of the current road humps and the resurfacing of the road. As a bit of an aside, this will leave Homeleigh Road as one of the few roads that hasn't been resurfaced in this area - we have asked the council whether this might be rectified so that the whole area is sorted out and residents don't face further disruption in the future.

From 9.30am this morning (Monday 29 March) the 343, 484 and N343 will be on diversion until Friday 30 April. From Brockley Way, buses will avoid Merttins Road, go up Brenchley Gardens, down Kelvington Road and re-join the route at the corner of Ivydale Road and Cheltenham Road. The only bus stops closed will be the one on Ivydale Road (northbound) and the one on Merttins Road (New Cross Gate-bound).

The TfL website helpfully inform us that "Services are subject to severe delays."

There is no indication that the P12 is on diversion but I suspect it will run up Athenlay Road (from the junction with Ivydale) and on to Brockley Way. This will miss out the stop on Ivydale Road (near the junction with Inverton) and the stop on Merttins Road.

Finally, at the last Community Council meeting, concerns were raised about the shortage of parking for residents further up Ivydale Road following the installation of pinch points there. The Community Council Traffic and Transport group (a mixture of local councillors, council officers and residents, including Renata) have agreed to look into this at its next meeting. On my suggestion they have agreed to include looking at the final section of Ivydale Road even if the works are not completed at that point.

25 March 2010

Brockley Mews - a tale of two councils

Weeks after we reported this fly-tipping it still hasn't been cleaned up by Southwark Council
Brockley Mews is the last street in Southwark with one side coming under Lewisham Council. However all the residents pay their council tax to Southwark so do expect to get a few services in return!

Some weeks ago we reported two piles of fly-tipping to Southwark Council. We popped back to check that they had been cleared up. But guess what? The fly-tipping on the Lewisham side of the street had been cleaned up by Lewisham. Well done Lewisham. But surprise, surprise the pile on the Southwark side of the street remained.

With so many streets in Peckham Rye running along the border with Lewisham we have found many streets and residents are simply ignored by Southwark's Lib Dems. Labour pledges that a Labour council will look after all Southwark residents, wherever they live in the borough.

We're delighted that Lewisham Council have cleaned up the fly-tipping on their side of the streets. BEFORE:

23 March 2010

Local Lib Dem Councillor joins Labour - fed up with Lib Dems' failures

We spend a lot of time on Peckham Rye doorsteps and in our leaflets and letters telling people about the Lib Dems' failed administration and the many terrible policies they have pursued in our area. Some people probably take what we say with a pinch of salt 'Well you would say that wouldn't you' sort-of-thing.

So who better to set out the Lib Dems' failures than a Southwark Lib Dem councillor!

Today, Cllr Ade Lasaki resigned as a Lib Dem councillor and joined the Labour Party. In his resignation letter to Lib Dem leader Nick Stanton, Cllr Lasaki cited many themes we often hear on the doorsteps - a failure to sort out social housing and the right wing polices the Lib Dems have chosen to pursue in coalition with the Tories:

"By handing over control of our housing management to a Tory councillor you have done nothing to improve our housing service and as a result many of my most needy and vulnerable constituents have seen their housing service deteriorate.

"Week after week I have met constituents in my weekly surgery who have terrible housing problems, which I have no doubt, as someone who has been in the tenants movement for 25 years, are attributable to the policies which you have been pursuing."

Cllr Lasaki also says that the Lib Dem-led administration has been unwilling to allow criticism by its own members at cross-party scrutiny meetings: "On too many occasions as a member of the overview and scrutiny committee I do not feel that I have been allowed to challenge the executive and have been expected to be a mouthpiece for its policies."

Pretty damning stuff. And you don't have to take it from us. Take it from Cllr Lasaki, a well-respected and hardworking Lib Dem who has now joined Labour.

20 March 2010

Local election canvassing 101 - find out who runs the council before you begin

Tonight, one of our local Labour Party members popped round for a cup of tea and a chat. During our conversation he told us about a mildly amusing experience he'd had on his doorstep earlier today. I thought I'd share it with you too.

An unsuspecting Liberal Democrat canvasser had knocked on his door and asked to have a chat about how he might be voting in the May local elections. Our member wanted to know what the Lib Dems had to offer the people of Peckham Rye, so he played the role of an undecided voter. The conversation that followed went something like this:-

Lib Dem Canvasser: 'Which party do you think you might be voting for in May?'

Labour member: 'Well, I'm undecided. But I'm put off voting Lib Dem locally because they've gone into coalition with the Tories.'

Lib Dem Canvasser: 'Sorry?'

Labour member: 'The Lib Dems. They've run Southwark council with the Tories since 2002. The Tories are a bit right-wing for me. I'm not too comfortable with the Lib Dems putting them in power in Southwark.'

Lib Canvasser - (Looking somewhat perturbed): 'Hmmm. Neither am I to be honest. Erm. Bye.'

Labour Member: 'Bye!'

It is amusing that someone would go out canvassing for a local party they know so little about. Sadly, it stops being so funny when we consider the impact the Lib Dem/Tory coalition has had on local concerns such as recycling, social care, primary schools and Peckham Rye's green spaces.

19 March 2010

Peckham Rye Labour Rose - March 2010 Edition

Page 1 of the March Peckham Rye Labour Rose
(Click on the image to enlarge)

Page 2 of the March Peckham Rye Labour Rose
(Click on the image to enlarge)

16 March 2010

£20,000 to tidy up Forest Hill Road

We were delighted to learn at tonight's community council that £20,000 'Cleaner , Greener, Safer' money has been allocated to tidy up and improve Forest Hill Road between St Aidans Road and Ryedale.

Victoria submitted an application for this scheme based on suggestions made by a number of local people. Thanks to all those people who added their names to the petition to improve Forest Hill Road - the strength of community feeling that was made so clear helped to secure this cash.

If you didn't read the earlier post about Victoria's bid, these are some of the highlights of the work which will now be carried out:-
- the street will be tidied and payments repaired
- the old rusty bollards will be replaced
- proper designated areas will be created for bins
- some planting
- And finally, if there's enough cash, the electrical sub-station between Dunstans Road and St Aidens's Road will be repainted and the bench repaired.

14 March 2010

Lib Dem cuts could mean loss of Peckham Rye's full-time Park Manager

At a recent Friends of Peckham Rye Park (FoPRP) meeting Southwark council’s Parks and Open Spaces Manager and the council’s Head of Public Realm (environmental services) attended to speak about proposed changes to park management.

Just a few weeks ago the Lib Dems voted through a cut to the parks maintenance budget – something Labour opposed. Lo and behold the consequences of this are already becoming clear with the council officers beginning to consult on cuts to park management.

One proposal is to cut the number of park managers. There are currently four park managers, for Peckham Rye, Dulwich Park, Burgess Park and Southwark Park, but it is proposed to reduce this to two - one in the north for Southwark and Burgess, and one in the south for Dulwich and Peckham Rye.

Park managers already carry out their jobs under very testing circumstances. We believe that managing Peckham Rye Park and Common is a full-time job and Peckham Rye Labour will be making this view clear as part of the consultation (along with many other people I suspect). We hope the council will listen to the views of local people, but we are deeply concerned that this cut will go ahead.

12 March 2010

Email Boris - tell him to extend the 63 bus!

Renata, Victoria and I have been campaigning alongside London Assembly Member Val Shawcross for the extension of the 63 bus from its current finishing point on Forest Hill Road so that it goes just three more stops to Honor Oak Park station.

We think that any extension needs to be combined with the protection of the frequency of the 63 and new crossing points around local primary schools. We also think that any improvements to the 63 route must not be at the expense of the already infrequent P12 bus.

Please add your voice to the campaign by emailing the Mayor Boris Johnson
By clicking here you can send the email below to Boris (through the magic of html all you'll need to do is add your name and address). Alternatively cut and paste the text below and send to mayor@london.gov.uk

Dear Boris,

I am writing to you let you know the strength of feeling in my area about the need to extend the 63 bus to Honor Oak Park Station. It would make life so much easier for thousands of people in this part of South London if the 63 just went a few more stops and linked up with the overland train system and the new East London Line extension at Honor Oak Park.

This would expand the options for people getting to work in the morning and take some of the pressure off the 63 buses travelling to and from central London during rush hours.

Our Assembly Member, Val Shawcross, has already made numerous requests for the extension of the 63 bus route, but TfL Planners do not seem to realise how important this is or see the good sense in making the East London Line accessible to as many people as possible. Please listen to people living in the Peckham Rye, Honor Oak, Forest Hill and East Dulwich area, and EXTEND THE 63!

Yours sincerely...

With the East London Line extension reaching Honor Oak Park in just a few weeks, now is a crucial time to get our voices heard.

9 March 2010

Free school meals policy gaining support

Letter taken from the most recent edition of Southwark News

To add your support for this policy which will benefit kids and parents in Peckham Rye, click here.

"My council..." advertising campaign wasted £16,000

A quick update on the "My council . . ." posters that have been cropping around Peckham Rye and the rest of Southwark. When I posted last month I promised to let you know how much this bizzare advertising campaign had cost.

Well, according to the most recent edition of Southwark News your Lib Dem - Tory run council thought it was fine to spend £16,000 on the campaign. As I said previously, I've got no problem with councils spending money to communicate with residents on matters of importance, but wasting money telling people that the council is "working hard to improve green spaces" is just silly.

Perhaps this money might have been better spent improving the council's repairs service?

8 March 2010

Ivydale Road traffic calming... the saga goes on... and on...

Back in December, Ivydale Road residents received this letter telling us that the traffic calming works on Ivydale Road, between Linden Grove and Athenlay Road, would finish around 20th February - which they pretty much did.

The same letter warned those of us (including me) that live on Ivydale Road between the junction of Athenlay Road and Cheltenham Road that we could expect work on traffic calming measures (to this stretch of road) to commence soon after that date.

The latest news I have is that the council still need to meet with the bus operators to agree diversions for the 484 and 343 buses (and possibly a very small diversion for the P12) before the works can continue. This is a little frustrating. The council will have been aware for some months that a diversion was needed. In December the council acknowledged that this meeting about buses was needed in time for the next phase of works to start in late February. They also acknowledged that the P12 diversion (that took place from November - February) was badly communicated and chaotic. All the more reason to get the 343 and 484 diversions organised.

So the latest news is no news! However, the council have reassured me that residents will be notified of the commencement of works and timetable for completion, details of the bus diversions and also where you can park your car, by letter, at least seven days in advance of any work starting. Watch this space...

7 March 2010

New clubhouse for Southwark Caribb F.C.

Southwark Caribb F.C. is based on Peckham Rye and runs teams for hundreds of local kids and teenagers. We're delighted that Nunhead and Peckham Rye Labour Councillors secured the funding for their newly opened clubhouse.

In a quote from the most recent edition of "Southwark News" Labour Councillor Mark Glover said: "Club president Carlton Scafe and his team have built a fantastic community sports club. They are a shining light of inspiration to others working with young people in the Peckham area."

We hope this is just the start of investment in sports facilities on Peckham Rye.

5 March 2010

Peckham Rye Lib Dem housing failure makes front page news!

Angela shows us the terrible state the council left her bathroom in - for 7 weeks!
Gavin, Renata and I were horrified to find that council tenants in Rye Hill Park have been left without a bathroom for almost two months. James Finn , 71, Angela Harrington, 28 and Giulia Harrington, 59 have had to wash in bowls and in the kitchen sink after the council ripped out their bathroom but didn't seem in any rush to replace it!

What we found was really upsetting, especially as James suffers from a heart problem and has difficulty getting around. For this very reason the council had proposed that they install a shower in the flat, yet seven weeks after ripping out the old bathroom the council still hadn't returned to finish the job. The council had also ignored all contact from James, Angela and Giulia.
Once we'd brought this to the council's attention and got the story on the front page of Southwark News, miraculously the council decided they would sort this problem out. But it shouldn't be this way! The council can't leave tenants, especially ones who are unwell and vulnerable, to live like this.

Labour has set out a 6 point plan to tackle the Lib Dems' housing failure. You can read about our different approach here.

3 March 2010

All our transport dreams come true!

(Click on the map for a larger version)

I'm sure the political party that promised this to local residents would get a vote or two! Interesting take on a what a reversed tube map might look like. East Dulwich ends up as an interchange on the Northern and Victoria lines, Peckham Rye is on the Bakerloo, Honor Oak on the Bakerloo and Metropolitan lines and Nunhead is on the Central. Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Horniman even get their own stations!

In all seriousness the picture does underline how poor some of our transport links are when compared to other parts of London. As local campaigners we are doing all we can to champion those links we have. That includes saving the South London Line, extending the 63 bus (so that we can link up to the East London Line extension) and improving the 343 and P12 bus services.

(Thanks to the ever-interesting Brockley Central for the map)

2 March 2010

Peckham Rye development - update on new One O'Clock Club & sports facilities

(Click on the picture for a larger version)
For those following the plans for a new One O'Clock Club on Peckham Rye Common, and new changing facilities and pitches on Peckham Rye and Homestall Road, above is an amended plan of 'Option 2' which proved the more popular scheme with residents.

At the last consultation meeting I attended, the majority of people I spoke with favoured this option, though I know many involved with the One O'Clock Club and local sports teams have reached the stage where they just want these new facilities delivered!

Option 2 will locate the new changing facilities in the parks maintainance area - there is more space here than is currently needed for the maintainance team. It will also see a new 'green' car park on the silt mound and the current car park will return to being part of the Common.

Amendments to the original Option 2 are a 'green' access road to the cafe and a footpath has been reinstated against the park boundary near the One O'Clock Club. Up at Homestall Road the plans for an all weather pitch have been reconfigured to fit in a larger pitch.

For me, it's vitally important that this development maintains its momentum. As a 'phased' development I'm very concerned that we may only get some bits of the plans before the Council stops work, blaming a lack of funds. The council has made huge 'capital' investment in many projects elsewhere in the borough - for example the Canada Water library that has ballooned in cost from £8million to £16million. Peckham Rye Labour thinks it about time some sizable sums of cash are spared for large-scale developments in our area.